The 2012 edition of the Spring Hill College softball team features eight new faces on a 13-player roster, but Head Coach Alison Sellers-Cook sees the new faces as progress for the Badger program. "This year our players have worked hard and have a great attitude," she says. "At practice, we've been using the term ‘tight unit' to describe the camaraderie this team has for one another."
The Badger infield is a prime example of the team's new look. The only returning infielder from 2011 is at first base were senior Jenny Laird from Mobile's Baker High School steps back into the role she transitioned to after beginning last year at third base. "Jenny is a stable presence at first for us," says Sellers-Cook. "A team needs consistency at first base and we feel she is just the leader we need there."
Four freshmen take over on the rest of the infield. At third base, Elise deBruler of Luling, La., moves into the "hot corner" while Sea Blanchard of Breaux Bridge, La., will cover the shortstop position, Melanie Alterio of Theodore, Ala., assumes second base and Jade Bourgeois of Geismar, La., steps in at catcher. "We're very young on the infield," says Sellers-Cook. "But these ladies have shown maturity and poise. They understand what we're asking of them and they look forward to the challenge."
Freshman Linsey Dickerson from Hurley, Miss., will assume the starting role at pitcher while fellow freshman Katie Ingles of New Orleans, La., will provide relief as well as drawing some starts. Sophomore Alex Himel of Madison, Miss., is also available to pitch when necessary.
The Badger outfield is more experienced with seniors Kayla Moran of Pass Christian, Miss., and Kayla Thompkins of Hurley joining junior Katelyn Hinson of Mobile's Cottage Hill Christian Academy. Junior college transfer Mariha Partman from Biloxi, Miss., and freshman Taylor Webre of Luling will also be major players in the SHC outfield this spring.
"This will be a solid team for us," says Sellers-Cook. "We have added a lot of talent and we proved we can play in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) when we upset Top 25 opponents Auburn-Montgomery, William Carey and the University of Mobile at the end of last year. Just one more conference win would have put us into the SSAC Tournament and that would have been quite an accomplishment with the level of talent in the West Division."
The Badgers open the 2012 season at home on Murray Field on Friday at noon with a non-conference doubleheader versus Talladega College (0-4).