Experience to drive CHS softball

Published 8:39 am Wednesday, March 15, 2017

An experienced Central High School varsity softball squad is poised to build on last year’s performance.

The 2016 Lady Chargers finished as runners-up in the Virginia Colonial Conference tournament and saw their season end with a 3-2 loss to Windsor High School in the Region 1A East tournament quarterfinals.

A 2017 roster of five juniors, four seniors, one sophomore and one freshman looks improve on the 7-15 overall record produced by its predecessor.

“This year, we have a team (which) has played together now for several years,” Central Head Coach Karen McGrath said. “They have experience and work well together. Also, we have players who are very versatile and are capable of playing in multiple positions as the need arises. I definitely expect us to have a better record this season. Our scrimmage play has been very encouraging. Also, I have high expectations of being able to go deeper into regional play.”

The Lady Chargers will miss the services of Meri Agnes Dalton, a four-year starter at catcher who graduated last year.

“She also held our team’s highest batting average for the season,” McGrath said. “Recently, she tried out and made Longwood’s club softball team.”

Central returns plenty of talent, however, including junior Hailey Bayne, a third-year varsity player will occupy the circle.

“She throws faster and stronger than ever before and will have continued success,” McGrath said.

The coach also noted that freshman Sorie Scott will see time in the circle and in the infield.

“She has instinct on the bases, is very fast and is a very consistent hitter,” McGrath said. “She will be our leadoff hitter.”

Senior Brittany Dolan will continue to bring a vital veteran presence at first base.

“Her experience and leadership will help us every game,” McGrath said.

The coach cited the speed and strong arm of junior Kaylee Williams, who will anchor the outfield as a third-year starting center fielder.

Senior Kayla Anthony, a fourth-year varsity player, will take over the catcher role for Dalton.

“She has a strong, accurate arm, blocks well and is a team leader,” McGrath said.

Senior TanJaNeKa White-Freeman will get playing time in the outfield and provide key contributions at the plate.

“Her speed and instinct on the bases will help the Chargers as they battle a difficult district schedule,” McGrath said.

Juniors Emma Hart and Brittany Tomlinson are expected to play infield positions.

“As sophomores, they led the team in put outs on defense,” McGrath said.

The coach expects help in the outfield, at the plate and possibly in the circle from junior Riley Jones, a newcomer to the team.

Senior basketball standout Dominique Turman-Watson joins the varsity softball team after logging junior varsity experience, and McGrath expects to play her in the outfield and shortstop.

Junior outfielder/shortstop Savannah Farnsworth transferred in and has demonstrated infield, outfield and batting skills.

“Everyone on the team has a common bond; they want to win, and they all work hard to improve everyday so we can achieve this goal,” McGrath said.

Central was scheduled to open its season Tuesday evening at Randolph-Henry High School, and the Lady Chargers host Prince Edward County High School on Thursday at 5 p.m.