Last season was a tough one for the Lady Knights and their first year coach Nick English. Unfortunately for the Lady Knights, they were stuck in one of the toughest region in the state, with powerhouses like Whitewater, Northgate, and Harris County.
This season, the Lady Knights have moved to Region 4 in 4A, while many of the other teams in their region from a year ago have moved to 5A. The Lady Knights finished with a record of 4-22 in 2011, but with a much easier schedule, and a team that is a year older, the Lady Knights should be expected to compete in 2012.
“Last season was definitely a tough one,” said head coach Nick English. “We gave one hundred percent last season, but our region was extremely tough. There are some really good teams in our region this season, but this new region will not have nearly the powerhouse teams we faced last season. I am expecting some good things from the Lady Knights in 2012.”
The Lady Knights are currently holding tryouts, which will end today. The Lady Knights will start their 2012 season with a game at Lamar County on August 17, before traveling to Troup County to play in the two-day Callaway Invitational Tournament on Aug. 18-19.
The Lady Knights will return some key players from last season. Speedster Demeshia Russell will return for senior year at shortstop, along with super sophomore pitcher Chelsea Wainwright. Seniors Kaylie Nordon and Chasity Holliman also return, along with sophomore infielder Rachel Bridges. Unfortunately for Upson-Lee, senior outfielder Becca McDaniel will miss 2012 with a torn ACL.
“I expect our defense to be the strength of our team in 2012,” said English. “We have some players who can really pick it in the infield, and our pitching is pretty deep this season, which is a big plus for any team. One thing we need to get better at in particular is timely hitting. We hit the ball pretty decent in some spots last season, but hitting with runners in scoring position on a consistent basis is something we must improve.”
The Lady Knights will only have two teams in their new region which advanced to the state playoff last season. Locust Grove finished with a 27-9 record last season, and advanced to the Elite Eight in 3A in 2011. Eagles Landing also advanced to the playoffs last season with a 14-5 record. Some of the other teams in the region struggled last season, including Stockbridge (3 wins), Spalding (6 wins), North Clayton (1 win), Riverdale (2 wins), and Griffin (5 wins).
Look in Tuesday’s edition of The Times for the full 2012 schedule for the Lady Knights softball team.