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Mercer Softball Ready To Bounce Back From Disappointing Season

The Harrodsburg Herald/Casey Roberts
The Mercer County softball team is ready to hit their newly refubished field and take another run at a championship. Front row: Haylee Ransdell, Kallise Gammon, Mollie Bailey, Payton Hawkins, Reiley Feeback, Seagan Wood, Kendra Wilson, Emily Worthington, Mia Floro. Back row: Jayla Sanders, Thai Houston, Madisynn Griffin, Brooklyn Mullins, K.J. Sutton, Annika Campbell, Jersey McGinnis, Ella Davis, Hannah Beasley and Ashley Howard. Not pictured: Peyton Boyd.

Casey Roberts
Herald Staff

Blooming trees, buzzing bees and birds chirping signal springtime is upon us. The change of the season also brings the familiar sound of leather gloves popping and aluminum bats cracking.

After turning in a 5-23 record the Lady Titans softball team are eager to get back onto the field this season. The Lady Titans have a rich softball tradition, and will look to their experience to help set the program back in the right direction.

Mercer returns four seniors, Brooklyn Mullins, Madisynn Griffin, Kallise Gammon and Jersey McGinnis. The Lady Titans also welcome back eight juniors, Hanna Beasley, Peyton Boyd, Reiley Feeback, Thai Houston, Ashley Howard, Haylee Ransdell and Emily Worthington to round 12 upperclassmen.

Coach Rob Tharp spoke about the leadership displayed by two of his seniors.

“Madisynn and Kallise have taken a huge step forward to help lead both vocally and by example,” he said. Mullins provides leadership in other areas of need such as helping the staff organize team orders and efficiently connecting with the younger players.

Boyd and Gammon return as the leading hitters for the Lady Titans. Boyd finished last season with eight hits on 22 at bats, six RBIs and one home run. Gammon recorded 28 hits in 84 at bats, nine RBIs, three doubles, two triples and two homers for an respectable .275 batting average.

Gammon went into detail how her and her teammates put in extra work during the summer in preparation for the upcoming season,

“We started very early to get in extra reps, we have spent lots of time in the batting cages pushing ourselves. I feel we took the time to mentally prepare ourselves for games. That was something we did not do last year, which was reflected by our record.”

After overcoming setbacks due to a foot injury, Howard returns to lead the Lady Titans bullpen. Howard sustained the injury as a freshman and has been fighting to return to her previous form after re- aggravating the injury last season.

” We lost Ashley after seven games last season. Having her back will help our pitching rotation tremendously. She is still trying to knock the rust off a bit and we may need to limit her at times but we feel confident she will make an impact this season,” said Tharp.

Howard said getting back to her former self and dealing with her injuries have been a process. “I had a very hard time accepting the fact I couldn’t perform at the level I was used to. I had to relearn many skills I once was very good at,” she said

The journey to get back into playing shape has not been an easy one for Howard, but it was a challenge she has taken head on

“I did everything I could from throwing with crutches under my arms, to throwing with one knee on a bucket so I could get some kind of reps in. I spent time rewatching film to critique myself, just anything to better myself for my team,” she said.

Mercer will play the role of road warriors for the majority of the first part of their season due to ongoing construction with their field. The Lady Titans will play nine of the first 11 games on the road. A situation Tharp believes could sharpen his team for later in the season.

“The field situation is totally out of our control, it makes practicing hard but we will make the most of it. One positive is, it allowed us to load the back half of our season with home games,” said Tharp.

Expectations around the program include winning the 46th district and being competitive within the 12th region. “As the season progress and our girl’s keep improving I believe our goals will change. When everyone is healthy we can really make some noise,” said Tharp.

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