Bandys High softball coach Randi Keith has reason to feel good about the Trojans’ prospects for the 2014 high school season.For starters, Bandys returns two of its top players, one of whom was named all-state, as well as returning 10 others who saw playing time last season.That has Keith believing the Trojans can improve on not only their regular season and conference records, but their performance in last season’s North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2A state playoffs, as well.“We’re deep – every position, we’re going to be one or two (players) deep, at least,” Keith said. “We have a good young group coming through. These girls are highly competitive and have the ability to adapt to things.“The biggest thing will be on how they mesh. If we can bring it back and all be on the same page, we have a good chance of having a highly successful season.” Last year’s team finished 13-9 overall and 10-4 in Catawba Valley 2A play – good for a tie with Draughn for second in the league standings, two games behind Maiden – and advanced to the third round of the state playoffs.The Trojans open the season Feb. 26 at West Iredell in a new conference, the Southern District 7 2A, with three Lincoln County schools (Lincolnton, East Lincoln and West Lincoln) joining Catawba Valley 2A holdovers Bunker Hill, Maiden, Newton-Conover and West Caldwell.“I’m really excited about the new conference,” Keith said. “It’s a different view, and it gives the girls a view of some different teams.”Only two starters were lost to graduation, according to Keith: shortstop Tiffani Holland and second baseman Ayra Acsta.Leading that group is junior pitcher and outfielder Regan Smith, one of nine players from the Catawba Valley 2A named to the N.C. Softball Coaches Association’s all-state team. She was also named player of the year for the NCSCA’s 2A all-district team, and was an all-conference selection.Catcher Meggie Gentle, an all-Catawba Valley 2A pick last season, is one of three seniors returning, along with first baseman Amber Peters and outfielder-utility player Shelbey Weddington.Juniors pitcher-utility player Kathleen Reardon, outfielder-utility player Morgan Miller and outfielder Payton Huffman also return.But the bulk of the Trojans’ returnees are sophomores: third baseman Kailee Ritch, pitcher-utility player Victoria Tredway, shortstop-utility player Cappy Sigmon, pitcher-outfielder Kat Barrow and first baseman-third baseman Mallory Bailey.“We have a lot of utility players,” Keith said. “With this group, we have quite a few girls who can play at different spots. We did that some last year, but we’ll have a lot more flexibility this year.“We have a lot of talent, but they also have strengths and weaknesses, so you could see our lineup change every day. It’s a nice problem to have, but I want to be able to use all of that talent.”
Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014
Bandys opens with good reason for hope
Five to Watch
Regan Smith Bandys
Named N.C. Softball Coaches Association's 2A district player of the year, was also named to all-state team.
Jamie Pisel Lake Norman
NCSCA all-state team selection batted .431, had 15 RBIs and 18 runs scored, also had 10 extra-base hits.
Sydney Ditto Lake Norman
All-state pick hit .419 last season, was also among team leaders in hits (26), runs scored (28), doubles (seven) and triples (three).
Kasey Moffett Lake Norman
Sophomore, third baseman
Starter as a freshman hit .407 with 24 hits, 20 RBIs, 20 runs scored, one of seven Wildcats named to all-state team.
Mackenzie Winslow Lake Norman
Junior, pitcher/first baseman
All-state pick went 7-0 with 0.89 ERA, six shutouts in 10 appearances, also hit .371 with 23 hits, 14 RBIs and 19 runs scored.
Bill Kiser is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Bill? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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