Greenville softball ready to play their way back to Akron


By Drew Terhall

GREENVILLE — The Lady Wave softball program are coming off from a great season last year. They had another 20+ win season, won their 15th District title in the last 17 seasons, went to regionals for the eighth straight season and returned to Akron for the first time since 2012.

Head coach Jerrod Newland said the days leading up to the upcoming season is a like a breath of fresh air for the Greenville community. They are ready for another chance at adding more hardware to the trophy case.

“Great group of kids, 23 kids coming back. We’re just excited for the opportunity ahead. We work hard, we really work hard. The kids surround themselves with like-minded peers and we continue to work hard and get better,” Newland said. “Opening week, so it begins. Love where we’re at. Great offseason, great individual seasons for a lot of kids. Here we’re coming. It’s going to be a fun 11 weeks.”

But, there’s still some unfinished business to attend to. The Lady Wave fell to the eventual state champions in Tallmadge in the Division II State Semifinals, 6-5, in Akron.

The goal at Greenville has always been getting back to Akron. Newland said from what the team has said, they are itching to get back.

“You’ve been there. I get goosebumps talking about it. You see the stadium. You see the field. Once you’ve been there, it’s just how do we get back. That’s the goal. It’s us verse the world. We’ll win and we’ll get back. Just can’t wait for the opportunity and it starts this week,” Newland said.

The team graduated five impactful seniors from last season. But as always, they have a lot of talent returning.

Greenville has six seniors on the roster this season. That includes Addie Burke who hit .256 last season and had 23 RBI. They also bring back Mahayla Cook who caught fire at the end of the season after working her way back from injury in the middle of the season. She had four home runs with 18 RBI and hit for a .347 average.

The Lady Wave also bring back their workhorse on the mound in junior Zoey Burns. In 25 appearances, she had 155 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.38. At the plate, she hit for a .459 average and led the team with 57 RBI and five home runs. She led the MVL in RBI and was an All-First Team MVL member and was on the First Team All-State.

Newland said behind Burns on the pitching staff will be junior Morgan Thompson and freshman Lizzie Shaffer. He expects Thompson and Shaffer will get some playing time.

They also bring back another MVL First Teamer in junior Kylar Arnett. She hit for an average of .351 with 37 RBI. Sophomore Kendall Cromwell returns as well coming off a season where she was named to the All-MVL Second Team. She hit for a .346 average and had 36 RBI.

There will be nine freshmen on the roster this season. Newland said this freshmen class won their seventh and eighth grade leagues and are very talented.

Everyone on the roster has the versatility to play multiple positions. Newland said it will take some time to see where everyone fits best.

“It will mix really well, the young pieces and the old pieces. We’ll put a puzzle together. It will be a little unique here for awhile because a lot of kids do a lot of different things and can play some different spots. It’s our job as a staff to make it all work out. I think we’ll be in very good shape before we move on,” Newland said.

There’s always competition going on for starting spots. Newland said with some spots open from last year’s seniors departing, the daily competition has put them in a good spot.

The competition within the team only helps them grow and get better.

“Competition makes kids work hard. It makes us better as a team. If young kids push, then the older kids push. Everyone gets better. Bottom line is our philosophies make Greenville softball better. We’re right where we need to be. It’s going to be great. We’re going to have fun this year,” Newland said.

The Lady Wave are poised to have another great season. The program has their mind set on getting back to Akron and hopefully get a chance to make it to the final game.

The team has done everything they can to help each other get ready for the upcoming season.

“I’m really excited. We’re right where we need to be. The kids are chopping. It’s just competitive. Even in here, we’re soft tossing hitting tennis balls and everybody is just competitively pushing each other. That’s what it takes,” Newland said.

Greenville will start the season with a home game against Milton Union on March 23. First pitch is set for noon.

Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]

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