The Mercer County Lady Titans Softball Team hasn’t made it to the state tournament in school history, but that drought may very well end this year.
Second year head coach Robbie Tharp thinks this year’s team may have the best chance to make history, by advancing further than any Mercer County team.
“We want to compete for the region. I think that is a realistic goal for this group. First we want to win the 46th District. We were runners-up last year, we want to win it this year,” said Tharp.
“We want to go into the 12th Region Tournament and make some noise and get further than we did last year. I really think we can compete for this region.”
The Lady Titans, who lost to Southwestern in the opening round of the 12th Region Tournament last year, return nearly all of the starters, including their ace pitcher, senior Kaylee Russell.
“She (Kaylee) is awesome. She is a tremendous athlete and she is so poised under pressure. Those six inches between your ears are the most important. As a pitcher, when you start giving up some hits or you start walking batters, you’ve got to have that senior leadership, and that is what she is going to do for us this year,” said Tharp.
Russell’s dominance on the mound has been even more impressive, considering she wasn’t able to be a part of the softball team her freshman and sophomore year.
“She has made a lot of improvements from last year. Last year was her first year playing because she had severe injuries two years in a row. She played for the first time last year as a junior. She did great and took the circle every night. This year she won’t have the burden of having to pitch every night, because she will be able to share time with Gabby Banks. Kaylee has a bright future at the next level,” said Tharp, who led the Lady Titans to a 20-16 record last season.
Tharp is also expecting breakout seasons from several other players if Mercer County is going to put their name in the history books.