Turnout high for ACCS as Lady Rebels gear up for softball season
NATCHEZ — Head coach Forrest Foster and the Adams County Christian School softball team are headed back to the diamond to prepare not only for the 2013 season, but for years to come.
Foster said softball is one of the fastest-growing sports among girls, and it shows greatly at ACCS as Foster’s roster features 28 girls, junior varsity and varsity.
Of those 28, Foster said he only has two seniors after losing five seniors last year. With a young squad, Foster said fundamentals would be among the most attentive in his practices.
“We’re really talented, but they haven’t quite grasped the mental aspect of it,” Foster said. “We need to correct our defensive coverage of the infield with runners on base and base-running situations.”
Teaching aspects of the game that athletic ability can’t overshadow takes a lot of time and dedication, Foster said.
“We practice every day during the week; we have a minimum of three and a half hours of practice a day,” Foster said. “Sometimes we’ll start practice at 5:30 p.m., and won’t leave until 10 p.m.”
ACCS has only eight days before their first regular season game against Centreville Academy before playing in Centreville’s tournament the following day.
At the rate the Lady Rebels are going, Foster said he expects his squad to be competitive once they hit the mid-season mark, but Foster doesn’t constrain his team to short-term goals.
Foster said a few eighth-grade students will play varsity this year, but getting their feet wet early should make way for an elite squad in the years to come.
“In two years, if I do my job, we should be extremely good,” Foster said.
Along with eighth and ninth graders getting an early start, Foster is looking for a few veterans to play well this year.
Sophomore Ashleigh Williams led the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools in home runs last year, knocking seven total out of the park.
Williams said the Lady Rebels have a lot of adapting to do, but they are on the right track to getting acclimated.
“We’re a really young team,” Williams said. “We have to fill all of those positions, and it’s really hard because some people are playing where they never played before, but it’s where coach needs us to play.”
Senior Tory Laird, who was first team All-District in 2012, said she is happy to see all of the young faces on the team.
“It is overwhelming having so many people on the team, but we need as many as we can get,” Laird said. “We go to school together, build a relationship with each other and have fun.”
Williams said developing the younger athletes takes time, but it will benefit them during the season.
“It helps us grow as a team,” she said. “If we mess up early, we have someone who can come behind us and get it done.”
Laird and Williams said they both look to repeat receiving their respective awards, but they would both focus their efforts on their team’s success instead of individual accomplishments.
“My goals are with my team; everything I do, I do for them,” Laird said. “I would rather see us go farther (than last year) than to get one award for myself.”
Laird said she has high expectations for the Lady Rebels this season.
“I see us going past district to South State, and hopefully our momentum gets us to the state title,” she said.