With 19 total players, including eight freshman, new Community R-VI softball coach Brandon Talbot is looking forward to how his team will perform this year with a mix of young and experienced players.
This year’s squad is led by seniors Danie Jackson (P) and Amber Harrison (C).
Junior Alyssa Curtis (1B, P) will be joined by other returners Chelsea Hoyt (SS), Katie Bertels (2B), and infielders Deann Brooks, Delaney Bowers, and Maddee Gastler.
Taren Clark will lead the team in centerfield with other outfielders being Sirrina Dunn, Sadie Hoyt, Bowers., among others.
Bowers and Hoyt will be key utility players.
Talbot says he really likes the fact that his team is returning the middle of the field to this year’s squad with Chelsea Hoyt, Bertels, Clark, and Harrison.
“That will make us pretty strong up the middle,” Talbot said. “They all have pretty good speed and pretty good range.”
Jackson is expected to see the most time on the mound this year with Curtis also seeing time.
Offensively, Talbot said his team has some power hitters who can get some key extra-base hits.
He does look for his team to cut down on strikeouts to put the pressure on the other team.
“Our main goal is to put (the ball) in play,” he noted.
Defensively, Talbot said he wants his players to concentrate on making the routine plays. He wants them to stay focused and attack the ball on both offense and defense.
For Talbot, this is the first time in his 11 years of coaching that he will be taking over a softball program. He is also the district’s baseball coach.
Talbot said he’s always enjoyed fast-pitched softball and played it himself in between his summers when in college.
He said the Lady Trojans have responded so far to him has coach.
Just before press time, the Lady Trojans won their season opener with an impressive 10-8 victory over Hermann on the road. Community R-VI scored three runs in the first, before they scored two runs in three later innings. Their two-run sixth was enough to seal the victory.
Danie Jackson earned the complete-game victory on the mound after allowing five earned runs and striking out four. She also walked five batters.
“We made some mistakes but we battled throughout the rough start and we got hits when we need them,” Talbot said. “It seems like when we put runners in scoring position we capitalized. I would have liked to see us more aggressive on defense but it was our first game so hopefully that changes. I was pleased with our overall discipline at the plate.”
Harrison went 2-for-4; Clark went 2-for-4 with a run scored; Brooks had two doubles and three RBIs; and Curtis finished with two hits and two RBIs.