Getting better every day

Published 12:01 am Friday, January 28, 2011

Lady Saints center fielder Jessica Centner throws the ball in during a drill Thursday at practice. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

The LBWCC Lady Saints softball team’s main goal this season is to get better every day, head coach Tommy McDaniel said Thursday.

LBWCC’s 2011 softball season will begin next Tues., Feb. 1, when the Lady Saints play host to Marion Military at 1 p.m.

McDaniel said from the start, he’s liked how his team has faired behind the plate.

“So far, I’ve liked the way we’ve swung the bat,” he said. “At spring training, I think we hit the ball very well in our intrasquad. Defensively, we’ve improved every day.”

The Lady Saints return seven players this season from last year’s team. All of them are sophomores with a full year or more under their belts.

“I look for those seven sophomores particularly to provide great leadership,” McDaniel said.

However, McDaniel said the leadership has been there thus far leading up to opening day next week.

“We’ve shown better sophomore leadership than we have in the last two to three years,” he said. “I’ve been very pleased with most of our sophomores.”

There will be eight freshman on the team this season.

When asked who will be playing in what position, McDaniel said that’s been decided upon mostly.

“This weekend, we’ll have a couple more intrasquads before Tuesday when I make my final decision,” he said. “But, for the most part, we’ve got the depth chart set.”

On the mound, the Lady Saints have sophomores Kayla Beth Logsdon of Enterprise and Colby Holmes of Tallahassee, Fla.; and freshmen, Anna Nelson of Georgiana, Leeanna Monk and Courtney Lipford, both of Tallahassee.

“I’ll tell you the thing I’m proudest of is our pitchers have really worked hard,” McDaniel said. “Our pitchers have done a great job of coming in, and throwing pins and improving each and every day.”

The other players on the Lady Saints softball squad include freshmen Stephanie Bracewell of Andalusia, Amber Davis of Jasper, Amber Jacobs of Kinston; and sophomores Heather Brinkmeier of Port St. Joe, Fla., Barclay Davis of Semmes, Ashley Gates of Wewahitchka, Fla., Lela Land of Vernon, Fla., Jessica Simms of Slidell, La., and Jessica Centner of Andalusia.

This season will be the first time since 2008 the Lady Saints will play in the Southern Division Conference. The last two seasons, the Lady Saints have been in an independent league.

McDaniel said the competition will be tough, as it was two years ago.

“The league has been really good,” he said. “The league was strong the last time we were in it. The league’s tough, and appears — it seems like it got even better, so it’s going to be a challenge for us.”

Every day at practice or in team meetings, McDaniel said he talks to his team about finding their identity.

His team’s identity, he said, is something for which they are still searching.

“But, I like this group,” he said. “I think it’s a group that works hard. I think this could be a team ��� I hope this team can exceed the expectations. I hope that’s their identity. We’re going to out work, out play and out hustle the opponent. That’s what we want.”

But McDaniel said the ultimate goal is to improve daily.

“Our goal is not to win the Southern Division,” McDaniel said. “Our goal is not to make it to the World Series. Our goal is not to win 40 games — our goal is that we want to be a better team tomorrow than we were today. I feel like if we do that from Jan. 10 to May, then we give ourselves a chance to make a run in the state tournament.”