Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

April 10, 2014

SOFTBALL: Howard County preview

Defending MIC champ Eastern leads local squads into new season

(Continued)

TAYLOR

Spirits are high at Taylor to start the season. The Titans didn’t have a senior on a 5-20 squad last year and are heavy with experienced sophomores.

“I’m really excited for this year’s team,” new coach April Johnson said. She was an assistant the previous three seasons. “Most of them have a year under their belt now. We were basically all freshmen starters last year. As long as they have the support of their teammates and don’t second guess themselves I think they’re going to have a tremendous year.

Johnson likes the players’ camaraderie. That’s why she’s so confident that the team is on the right path.

“They’re so close this year, they trust one another, they believe in each other now,” she said. “They’re more comfortable on the field now. I’m really confident in wherever I put girls on the field.”

Three sophomore pitchers return: Rachel Halfley (4.11 ERA, 43 strikeouts in 92 innings), Emma Williams, and Cami Hansen (3.79 ERA in 48 innings).

“Defensively I think we’re going to be very sound,” Johnson said. “We have three really good pitchers. Returning everyone from last year is just going to make for a good year.”

Catching that group are junior McKenna Deckard (.319 batting average) and sophomore Savannah Delgado, who will play short when Deckard is behind the plate. Delgado led the team with a .388 average last season.

In the infield are sophomore third baseman Brie Boehler (.373), sophomore first baseman Lydia Owens, and senior second baseman Jacquelyn Rhoades.

Senior Taylor Mosier is in center field, and sophomore Hannah Mullinax is in right. One of the pitchers will occupy right field when not in the circle and senior Breanna Wright is another option in right field.

Sophomore Valary Farmer is the designated player.

“We’re very aggressive,” Johnson said. “I would say probably 75 percent of my girls all play travel ball so softball is second nature to them. They just come out and play hard every game. We have a lot of good hitters, we’re going to be really strong at the plate this year, then defensive-wise we are solid.”

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