During the 2008 season the Shelton State Softball team finished with a 35-16 record. The Lady Buccaneers look to improve on the school record for wins and take the program to another level. Playing in the tough ACCC Central, the 2009 Shelton State team will use a mixture of seasoned sophomores and talented freshmen to continue building on the success of the 2008 campaign.
The outfield features two speedy All-Region performers from last year. Lindsey Skinner was a second team All-Region selection last year. She hit .412 with 3 homeruns and 25 RBI. Alex Whisner was also a second team All-Region selection and will patrol alongside Skinner as well as play infield. Whisner hit .409 and had 27 RBI?s and stole 17 bases. ?Skinner and Whisner give us experience in the outfield,? Head Coach Buddy Boyle said. ?Both have been through a season at this level and give us speed in our lineup.? The third outfield spot will be filled by a collection of freshmen. Laura Whitehead (Leeds HS), Meghan Harris (Edgewood Academy), and Ashley Pennington (Enterprise HS) should all see playing time.
The infield was totally revamped after last year?s graduation and replaced by an all-freshman cast. The ?Dirt Divas? start with slick fielding Jazmin Santiago (Enterprise HS), the early starter at third base for the Lady Bucs. The middle infield looks solid with a trio of hard-nosed players. Shortstop will be patrolled by Stephanie Owenby (Rockmart HS, GA) and supported by Lauren Sanders (Hillcrest HS). Second base will have a new look with Courtney White (Athens HS). ?The middle infield doesn?t mind getting dirty and mixing it up a little,? Said Boyle. ?They give us that hardnosed attitude that helps your team in many ways.? Power hitting Madison Fuller (Tuscaloosa Academy) is the starter at first base after her AISA All-State performance with smooth lefty Shelby Goff (Leeds HS) getting playing time. Whisner gives the coaching staff some flexibility as she is able to play multiple positions in the outfield and give quality innings at second base.
Catching is a definite strength for the 2009 Shelton State team. All-Division Kayla Gordy returns for her sophomore year after setting a new RBI record at Shelton State with 44. In 2008, she hit .381 and had 12 doubles and 6 homeruns. Freshman Sara Hilton was a 6A All-State performer at Enterprise HS and hit 14 home runs last year and is the single game RBI record holder for the AHSAA with 10. Both will also see time at DP to utilize their strong bats. ?I?m happy to have two accomplished catchers that can lead our team.? Boyle said. ?What I see them doing is taking over games and setting the tone for our defense.?
The pitching staff has several styles of pitching and is anchored by Nicole Morrison, a sophomore from Brookwood HS. Last year hard-throwing Morrison finished 15-7 with a 1.91 ERA and was named First Team All-Region. She struck out 107 batters in 2008. Sophomore Mary Ellen Postell, Haleyville HS, has worked hard and will log innings with her assortment of breaking pitches. Fuller pulls double duty for the Lady Bucs and will also be counted upon to give quality innings with her strong style.
The offense is capable of putting up some runs. Last year Shelton State hit .355. ?This year we have the potential to hit the ball really well and perhaps surpass the numbers from last year,? Boyle said. ?The sophomores we have performed well last year and the freshmen will have a chance to contribute early for us. We have a great mixture of speed and power and we just have to put it all together.?
Boyle sees a change for the 2009 defense. ?I think we have a faster defense than last year. The 2008 bunch did a good job of making plays but the 2009 version allows us a couple more options and we can execute more schemes. The tradition established in 2008 is highly respected by this year?s team and they understand what it means to play here.?
Shelton State opens up in the Darton College tournament February 6-7 in Albany, Georgia. Visit www.sheltonstate.edu and watch the ACCC website for constant updates.