By Drew Terhall
GREENVILLE — Preparation for the 2023 softball season is underway for the Greenville High School softball team. Head coach Jerrod Newland said it’s great to be back out on the field and seeing the team compete early on.
“It’s great, just a breath of fresh air getting out here and getting going on the 2023 installment of Lady Wave softball. It’s going to be awesome. There’s new faces, new places, a lot of kids playing hard having fun, great coaching staff and it’s just a fresh of breath air for Greenville,” Newland said.
The Lady Wave finished 26-6 last season with a 17-1 conference record. Their season ended in the Division II Regional semifinals against Kenton Ridge.
Newland said he believes the team can bust through and get past the Regional stage. The team has won 14 of the last 16 district titles, but are looking for more. Greenville’s last appearence in the State final four was in 2012.
“You can say we’re the Buffalo Bills of high school softball if you want because we are the last ten years. We’re going to bust through,” Newland said. “But very similar to a lot of other groups, when you get that last shot or last chance you got to cherish it and take advantage of it.”
The team lost five seniors from a season ago, including MVL Athlete of the Year Susie Blocher. They also lost a member of the First Team All-MVL in Saige Fellers. They do return players like senior Ashlyn Zimmer, a member of the First Team as well last season. They also have senior Skylar Fletcher back, a member of the Second Team All-MVL from a season ago.
Newland said they did graduate a great group of kids, but is looking forward to what this year’s group brings. While it’s nice to have some production coming back into the lineup, the coaching staff is excited for what their pitching staff can do this season.
Senior Kylie Hamm and sophomore Zoey Burns will return to lead the staff. Hamm is coming off a season where she was named to the First Team All-MVL and had 68 strikeouts. Burns was named to the Second Team last season as she racked up 107 strikeouts and led the conference in wins with 15.
Newland said they will rely on a stable of Hamm, Burns, sophomore Morgan Thompson and two freshmen to make up the pitching staff. Hamm and Burns both push each other at practice and form a great one-two punch for the Lady Wave.
“They complement each other very well. They competitively push each other. During the year, we’re going to need all five of those pitchers to get where we need to be,” Newland said.
Right now, it’s all about competition for playing time. Newland said he loves where the team is at right now as they are not only improving, but having a great time competing each day.
“Last year doesn’t mean a grain of salt anymore. Kids will come back and compete. The best kids will play this year and we’ll see where we’re at. It’s very competitive, it’s very fun,” Newland said.
Newland said he is excited for the kids to have the opportunity to make memories and grow into their roles as they work their way towards a State final four appearence.
The team wants to be playing when June comes around. The players have seen and heard about previous teams playing their way far into the postseason tournament. They will have a chance themselves to make new memories for Greenville softball.
“When I see the old families and friends, we talk about great games and moments. I’m excited for these kids to get that chance to finally do that. When you watch the game or your a kid it’s learning, you don’t get that shot” Newland said.
Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]