Natchez High pitcher and second baseman Kailey Hutchins fields a ground ball during practice Monday at the Natchez-Adams girls softball complex. ( Justin Sellers / The Natchez Democrat)
Natchez High pitcher and second baseman Kailey Hutchins fields a ground ball during practice Monday at the Natchez-Adams girls softball complex. ( Justin Sellers / The Natchez Democrat)

Doughty, Lady Saints start practicing for July 27 opener

Published 12:08am Tuesday, July 16, 2013

NATCHEZ — The Trinity Episcopal Day School softball team is gearing up for their first game on July 27 against Centreville, and the Lady Saints have a lot of new things to adapt to before stepping to the plate.

First year head coach Miranda Doughty said as she teaches her players about the game of softball, she is learning as a coach as well.

Softball is one thing Doughty knows a lot about, but being a head coach of a high school team is a new phase for her.

“It is more of the technical things that’s new for me, the scheduling, the budgeting and having patience,” Doughty said.

But patience has to be key for Doughty and her young team consisting of only three seniors and no juniors.

As softball season sneaks up in less than a month, practicing during the summer can be a little complicated.

“I have about 10 girls on the roster but right now I have four at practice,” she said. “Some have jobs, some are playing summer league softball.”

Though Doughty has yet to practice with her full roster, she said there is an upside to it.

With fewer players, she can do more one-on-one drills with the players who do show up to practice. Doughty said there are a lot of fundamentals she has been able to work

on in only three scheduled practices so far.

“We’re working on judging fly balls, angling and learning the crow hop to throw the ball further. We’ve had our practice that was strictly batting,” Doughty said.

As Doughty adapts to her new team, her players must adapt to a new coach as well.

Sophomore pitcher Kailey Hutchins said things are different from when her father, Chris Hutchins, was the head coach, but that isn’t a bad thing.

“It’s really different, I’ve never been coached by a lady before but I really like her, she has a lot of energy,” Hutchins said.

Trinity Episcopal outfielder Gabrielle Knight reaches for a fly ball during practice Monday at the Natchez-Adams girls softball complex. (Justin Sellers / The Natchez Democrat)
Trinity Episcopal outfielder Gabrielle Knight reaches for a fly ball during practice Monday at the Natchez-Adams girls softball complex. (Justin Sellers / The Natchez Democrat)

As a pitcher herself, Hutchins said she could learn a lot from the former college pitcher.

“We’re working a lot with my form on my pitching and on my hitting,” she said.

Senior Mallory Lancaster is only one of two veterans on the squad, and she said there are a couple things she thinks the team needs to work on to prepare for the changes in the schedule.

Trinity has dropped down from Class 2A to Class 1A, and most of the girls are not familiar with the teams they will face this fall.

“I think we need to hit the ball harder and work on straight throws to the bases,” Lancaster said.

Lancaster has history with Doughty as they have had a coach/player relationship before.

“She coached me as a kid (in the Ferriday Summer league) so I’m used to her,” she said. “We’re going to miss our old coach but she is a very good coach and I’m excited to have her.”

Gabrielle Knight is a senior in the classroom, and just about every other school sport, yet a freshman on the softball field.

Doughty said Knight is a pure athlete, as she also plays basketball, runs track and is a cheerleader.

As Doughty got to spend some time with the girls during summer games, she dubbed Knight her most improved player thus far.

Knight said she feels like she still has some improving to go, and Doughty is helping her get there.

“I need to get in better shape for the season. Being in shape for softball is different from track or basketball,” Knight said. “But we’re going to be practicing every day and she’s going to prepare us for the game.”