Experienced Bearden softball team expects big things for 2014 season

As spring begins, the Bearden softball team is excited for what this season may have in store for them.

The Lady Bulldogs lost their first three games, but picked up a big win against Lenoir City on Monday that they hope will serve as a springboard for the rest of their season.

“I think this year is going to be a solid year for us,” Coach Leonard Sams said. “This team has more depth than any other team I have coached at Bearden and with so many returning starters this year, we have a lot of experience.”

The Lady Bulldogs play Farragut at home on Thursday at 6 p.m. in a game that will be televised by BBN (beardenbroadcasting.com).

Last year’s team finished 20-12 and 8-6 in District 4-AAA, and they bring back starters from that team who could prove to be vital in this season’s success.

However, despite the returning players, many new pieces were added to the puzzle during the offseason. Besides the freshmen who were added to the roster, two new assistant coaches were also added on to the team.

Kristina Alexander and Tiffany Huff each bring unique talents to the coaching positions. Alexander, who has a degree in sport psychology, brings strong technique in the mental game whereas Huff, who played at UT, brings a lot of experience to the table.

With these new additions combined with what is coming back from last year, the team feels prepared to take on whatever is thrown their way.

Part of that returning class is the lone senior on the team, outfielder and Cumberland College signee Alisa Walker.

“Alisa Walker is a great all-around player, as she brings a strong bat and fielding skills as well as leadership and passion for the game,” Coach Sams said. “She has a very positive attitude and always brings that winning spirit with her.”

Although she is the only senior on the team, Walker accepts the role with minimal anxiety and does not worry about pressure.

“I don’t feel a lot of pressure because I know we have a great junior class full of leaders as well,” Walker said. “They help relinquish some of that pressure and are just as, if not more important to the team as me.

“Plus, the underclassman this year are very strong and work very hard and I think their play will be crucial to our success as well.”

The depth certainly isn’t in question this season and should not be an issue down the stretch unless the injury plague strikes.

“This team has the potential to make a solid postseason run and I definitely think we will have a solid year,” Coach Sams said.