If West Jessamine was young last year, it is even younger this year.
The Lady Colts softball team lost two seniors from last year’s squad and have no seniors on this year’s roster. Instead, West carries four juniors, six sophomores, one freshman and seven middle-schoolers.
The junior class includes Kendall Anderson, Jessica Baker, Ashely Brunty and Alex Huffman. And even those four are dwindling as Brunty is out with a torn ACL.
“That’s set us back a little bit, but the other kids have stepped up and are trying to fill that spot for us,” West Jessamine coach Michelle Baker said. West also lost freshman Katelyn Merritt, who moved out of the county.
Baker, who went 11-24 in her first season a year ago, likes the team chemistry she is seeing so far this season and feels like there’s more of it this year than there was last season.
“We bring back pretty much all of our experience. We lost (Stephanie) Preston at shortstop and Joanna (Brock) from the outfield, so only having to fill two spots and having a young roster helps us a lot,” Baker said.
West’s pitching this season will again come from sophomores Taylor Slone and Kelsey Garrett. The pair will also have to pick up some of the innings that Brunty was expected to pitch.
Samantha Cross and Alyson Archer, who spent last season in the outfield, will move into the infield this season. Some of the younger players will fill in the outfield.
“Archer has kind of stepped up in the leadership role. She led us through our winter workouts and conditioning,” Baker said. “She’s obviously very talented, so I’m going to have to have her produce a lot in order to be successful.”
Anderson is expected to do most of the catching.
West opened its season Tuesday on the road with a win/loss to Western Hills. The Lady Colts return home this weekend for the West Jessamine Tournament. They will play three games in two days, starting with Danville on Friday night at 8:45 p.m., followed by two more on Saturday.
“It’s early (in the season), and that makes me a little bit nervous opening up so early, but everybody has to open up sometime,” Baker said. “I expect a lot of good things. We’ve done decent in practice, and when you practice so much they get antsy to get out and play.”
West will compete in the Capital City Showcase and Thrill on the Hill during April and play in the Sports Den Showcase at Somerset in May.
“We’re playing about the same level of schedule that we played last year,” Baker said. “We just try to go out and get better every day. We scrimmaged saturday up at Tates Creek, and we did a lot of things better than we did last year ... so there’s a lot of things we’ve grown in and there’s obviously still lot of areas we need to grow into.”
Last season, West was bounced from the postseason in the semifinals of the district tournament, falling to East Jessamine 11-1.