W. Curt Vincent Editor
April 27, 2014
DUBLIN — West Bladen’s Lady Knights lost a ton of talent from last season’s 24-3 team that made a run to the fourth round of the state’s Class 2-A playoffs, but coach Pam Stephens is excited about the prospects of her 2014 diamond girls.
“That was a good group of girls that graduated last June, but I think we have a good chance to do well this season,” Stephens said.
That graduating group included all-state pitcher/shortstop Abbey Walters, first-baseman Erica Tanner, catcher Kaitlyn Sykes, right-fielder Danielle Dove, outfielder/pitcher Robin Coleman, outfielder Lexi Storms and outfielder Hannah Dowless.
But Stephens has a trio of experienced seniors returning in daughter Taylor Stephens and Courtney Thompson, each of whom were All-Waccamaw Conference selections last season, along with Josie Ludlum. Stephens will see most of her action at third base, while Thompson will move to first base and Ludlum slides in at second base.
Junior Nicole Wyatt will anchor the Lady Knights’ pitching circle, but may see some action back at second base when junior pitcher/shortstop Morgan Sweeney takes the circle.
Up from the jayvee comes seniors Kaitlin Valliere, a right fielder, and Samantha Gooden, a left fielder.
“We had so many seniors and juniors last season, that we just wanted to give these girls a chance to get playing time so they were ready to help us this season,” Stephens said.
Also up from the jayvee will be a trio of junior outfielders: Allison Thompson, Breanna Jackson and Amber Bills.
Stephens will also have a trio of freshmen on the roster — catcher Alana Ludlum, who is expected to start, along with outfielders Laikyn Pait and Kassidy Anderson.
As for the Four County Conference, Stephens said there are a couple of teams that will battle for the title.
“Midway should be pretty good and Trask should be, as well,” she said. “But we hope to finish in the top two or win another conference championship.
“It will depend a lot on our hitting,” she added. “And also how our pitching holds up. We’re thinner than we have been recently, but that may be a good thing.”