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Trinity softball goes into season looking to stay competitive

SAm gause | The Natchez Democrat Trinity juniors Kailey Hutchins, left, Tali Beard, right, practice pitching at Natchez High School Thursday. Hutchins and Beard will split the pitching duties during the upcoming season
SAm gause | The Natchez Democrat
Trinity juniors Kailey Hutchins, left, Tali Beard, right, practice pitching at Natchez High School Thursday. Hutchins and Beard will split the pitching duties during the upcoming season

NATCHEZ — Confidence will be a key factor for the Trinity Episcopal Day School Lady Saints softball team as it prepares for its season opener next weekend.

Trinity head coach Miranda Smith said their 2013 season was filled with a lot of improvements, and the one thing she noticed is her players played extremely well when their confidence was high.

But the problem was their confidence was easily broken.

This year, Smith said, she and her upperclassmen will have to make an extra effort to keep everyone’s state of mind stuck on positive.

The Lady Saints finished the 2013 season 13-14, and made it to the South State tournament and went head-to-head with top-ranked Union Christian Academy in the first round.

Trinity lost 4-3, but giving UCA a run for its money might have given the Lady Saints the confidence booster they needed.

“Last season was a positive for us,” Smith said. “I want to go and build from that. I’m focused on building their confidence and letting them know they’re good and they have the talent, they just have to grasp the mental part of the game.”

Coming into the 2014 season, there have been a lot of changes for the Lady Saints.

They have a deeper roster filled with new faces, and they lost a few faces as well.

Trinity senior Kayla Gilmore throws the ball back to Tali Beard during practice at Natchez High School Thursday.
Trinity senior Kayla Gilmore throws the ball back to Tali Beard during practice at Natchez High School Thursday.

Trinity lost its starting pitcher Marty Lewis, who transferred to Cathedral School.

But the Lady Saints made some key changes that might make for an even better outcome.

Tali Beard will transfer from behind home plate as a catcher, to be on the mound as a pitcher.

Beard said she is excited about the change up, and she hopes to make a big impact on the mound.

“It’s easier because I know where the umpires like it, and I know where to put the ball to get the calls,” Beard said.

Kailey Hutchins will also play pitcher, and though they bring two different styles to the mound, Smith said she sees it as an advantage.

“(Hutchins) throws a little slower than (Beard), and speed messes up any batter,” Smith said. “ I hope to get (Hutchins) to go through the line up once, and then bring in (Beard) with a different speed.”

Smith said she looks to seniors Kyler Parks and Kayla Gilmore to become vocal leaders and become a force on defense.

Though Sloane Young has been a Cathedral student for years, Smith said she finally joined the softball team and will fill the hole for them in centerfield.

Trinity acquired a transfer from Wilkinson County Christian Academy in Katelin Lees.

Smith said there are also a lot of new, younger players who have showed up to play this year, and she hopes to utilize them as much as she can.

“I don’t discriminate against grade (or age),” Smith said. “I put my nine best out, and if you’re one of them, then you’ll play.”

Trinity plays its first game at Centreville Academy next weekend, and Beard said she’s anxious to see how her team will respond to game action.

“I think it’s going to be playing with a new team,” she said. “We can practice all we want, but until we play, it’s a different situation. We can’t work on confidence until we play.”