The exciting news is that a new Indianola Academy Lady Colonels softball season is set to begin Friday at Chism Park.
Beginning with the first pitch of this 6:30 p.m. game to be thrown against Bayou Academy of Cleveland, the Lady Colonels will be a team hungry for experience and maturity as many new faces will take the field as starters this fall.
“This is the youngest team I have ever fielded”, said Head Coach Patrick Davis, “And we have had to fill more spots than we have had to in my previous four years here.”
However, the opportunity to gain much-needed experience will be ample for the Lady Colonels over the course of the next few days. Those opportunities commence this Saturday when the squad will participate in the Winona Christian School Tournament.
Starting their tournament action with the potential dew still heavy on the grass, the IA squad will take on the host team at 7:45 that morning.
They will then return to the field at 10:15 a.m. to take on Benton Academy. The balance of that day’s schedule is dependent on the Lady Colonels’ success.
Additional softball action again occurs on the road next Monday with a trip to Lake Providence, Louisiana to take on Briarfield Academy. First pitch is scheduled to be thrown at 6:30 p.m.
With the goal of improving on the 11-13 record and third place district finish earned last season, the Lady Colonels do return five position players to the playing field.
However, only three of those are seniors, a situation that Coach Davis is hoping could turn into a strength for his 2020 team.
“We have some young players who are excited to compete for their first varsity starting jobs,” he said.
“And we feel that we have athleticism and speed that can help with versatility and needed speed on the bases. We also have a senior pitcher who has logged more innings than anyone on our roster over the last several seasons.”
That pitcher is Katie Ann Page and the senior spent 65.3 innings inside the all-important pitcher’s circle last year. While there, Page struck out 45 batters while only issuing 11 base on balls.
As for the balance of the pitching staff, the Lady Colonels will turn to a pair of underclassmen, tenth grader Emma Grace Koger and ninth grader Meadow Smith. The learning curve will be quick as neither of the pair have ever pitched a varsity inning.
Returning starters filling positions on the field begins behind the plate with Lily Putnam. The senior, who is also listed as infielder, earned All-Conference honors last year.
At the plate in 2019, Putnam earned a .486 batting average while leading that squad in hits (34) and RBI’s (27).
Another senior bringing much experience to the field is Mattie Beth Williamson.
Expected to primarily play outfield, the speedster hit .351 last fall while drilling five doubles along the way.
The other outfield positions have returning starters inhabiting them as junior Gracie Sligh and sophomore Allie Snell are back.
Rounding out the returning starter list is sophomore infielder Leighton Lovelace, who came on strong in the second half of the 2019 season.
Lovelace eventually accumulated a .342 batting average while drilling a pair of triples to help drive 11 runs across the plate.
Aiding Coach Davis this fall in guiding the Lady Colonels through their schedule is Sierra Roberson, an IA alumni who is in her first year of coaching at the school.
“We have our work cut out for us”, said Coach Davis when discussing district competition.
“We believe Winona Christian will field a strong team this year. Also, Carroll Academy finished their season strong last year with a big win over Central Holmes Christian School to put them into the state tournament.”