ACCS softball eager for season with veteran players

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 19, 2017

It’s all there in the palm of his hand. Now, he just has to use it.

With the loss of just two starters from last year’s team, Adams County Christian School softball coach Tate Lipscomb believes this year holds great things for the Lady Rebels.

“I’ve got a great group coming back,” he said. “They have another year experience and are another year older. They are all back in the same spot, so they have to be better. We have a group of girls that just loves softball.”

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After claiming the district championship last September, ACCS finished last season fourth overall in MAIS Class AAA, with a second place finish in South State. It also had six players earn MAIS 4-AAA First Team All-District selections and another four named to the district’s second team, adding to its depth.

The Lady Rebels will replace graduates Bailey Boyd behind the plate and Anna McDaniel at shortstop.

With a majority of veterans, Lipscomb says he isn’t worried about filling the spots and it is simply a matter of moving a few people around.

“The positions are filled,” he said. “We just have to do something with it.”

As for returners, the Lady Rebels will be led by four seniors — Lexie Emanuel, Brianna Henson, Harley Martin and Baleigh Rayborn. The quartet of upperclassmen will cover every corner of the diamond from outfield, in.

Emanuel will move from her previous position in center field to shortstop — a position she said she hasn’t played in a few years, albeit her favorite.

“It’s very exciting,” she said. “I feel like this is our season to go real far. We’ve been together for a while now and we just know what everyone is thinking.”

Henson will take her spot as the starting pitcher for ACCS.

“It’s going to be a good season,” she said. “We have a lot of people that can play certain positions and can work hard at that, and we have a lot of talent and potential.”

Lipscomb said the Lady Rebels will utilize an upbeat outlook to aid their returning talent, attempting to ride on last season’s success.

“We have a very positive attitude going into the season,” Lipscomb said. “Our first goal is to win district, but they are gritty. They want to win it all this year. Last year they got a taste of it and realized if they would have played to their potential, they would have had a shot at it. They know this year that if they step it up and play their game, they can go for it.”

The key to staying focused and sharp for the entire season, Lipscomb said, is to take it one game at a time. When the time comes, he said, he thinks his team will be up for any challenge.

Lipscomb also said he wants to test his squad against other dominant teams, purposefully scheduling games with schools in higher classifications.

“We have to think small first,” he said. “You have to win the one you’re playing before you can get to the next one. If you set out to achieve something in each game, they will get it. It’s simple.

“We want to push the girls and give them the mentality of how to be ready in crunch time. I’m playing just about every open date I can play. It should be an exciting year.”

ACCS is slated for their first game of the season at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 4 at home against Brookhaven Academy.