Young B-A softball team looks to catch league, district, by surprise


Sophomore Faith Patton is set for a big season at bat.

Jake Miller, Sports Editor

After a year in which the Lady Blue Devils softball team finished its season seeded eighth in the District 6 playoffs, and after graduating a large senior class, you might not think that this year’s team carries high expectations coming into the 2018 season, but you’d be wrong in that assessment.

“I honestly think we’re gonna be good this year,” said sophomore pitcher Haley Schmidt. “We have a lot of new players, and we’re going to need to work as a team, but so far this season we’ve been doing a good job of that.”

Schmidt represents a relatively large sophomore class on this years Lady Blue Devils, and as a returnee, the pitcher will have to lead a team that picked up six new players, all of whom will be looked at to help replace the seniors who graduated last year. Schmidt echoed that claim, saying, “We lost a lot of good seniors last year, but we have to focus on this season now.”

Head Coach Jim Payne isn’t looking back at the past either as he focuses on this years team.

“The team is young but very experienced,” he explained. “Our goal is to qualify for districts, then focus on the second season.”

Other sophomores who played extensively last year and will compose the bulk of the Devils’ lineup include infielders Casi Shade, Faith Patton, and outfielder Karley Feathers.

Looking at this year’s roster, Schmidt looks to be the starting pitcher as she was last year, but the rest of the positions aren’t etched in stone. In the outfield the team will be starting with a new unit, but this year’s roster seems to have a competitiveness not seen in B-A rosters of recent years, which could spur the team’s improvement.

I am very excited about the team’s possibilities this season!”

— Coach Payne

Freshman Attie Poorman will also be a pitching force to be reckoned with in just her first season on varsity, and when she is not there she will be holding down a spot in the outfield, possibly right field. Kaitlyn Robison (outfield) and Gabriella Finn (first base) are two other freshman who will see time and contribute on the varsity level.

Another player looking to be a difference maker on this young Lady Blue Devil roster is the lone senior, Kaitlyn Knisely. Knisely, who began last season as the team’s starting catcher, is poised for a big season after leading last years team in fielding percentage.

Patton, another sophomore, is going to try to improve upon her batting percentage of last year, although with an average of .429, any improvement will only solidify her claim in B-A’s softball elite sluggers.

Junior Jess Heaton also brings a big bat and plenty of big-game at-bats as part of her resume, as does classmate Ashtyn Payne, a second baseman who finds ways to get on base. Krystina Taylor is also back, and her presence will provide stability for the team both on the infield and at the plate.

Even with these returnees, this year’s young roster the team is full of question marks, but this season could end up being a special one for the Lady Blue Devils.

Payne put it best about the potential of this years team: “I am very excited about the team’s possibilities this season!” he said.

The softball team will play it’s first game, due to multiple postponements, Wednesday against B-A’s northern neighbors, Glendale. The game will be played at Glendale High School at 4:30.