Lady Kavs rebuild

Published 3:38 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Kenston Forest School’s varsity softball team is developing young talent this season after some key players graduated from last year’s squad, one that reached the state semifinals. The Lady Kavaliers are off to a 3-3 start in 2018.

They played four games over the weekend at the Dinwiddie Sports Complex, where the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) Division III state tournament was held last year and will be held this year. On Saturday, the Lady Kavs defeated Tidewater Academy 15-7 and Collegiate School 9-8. On Friday, Kenston Forest lost 1-0 to Southampton Academy and 12-0 to Isle of Wight Academy.

Kenston Forest routed visiting Richmond Christian School 19-3 on Thursday and opened the season with a 4-1 loss to host Fuqua School on March 8.

“I have a young team, but I think from that first game, I got to see some things that we might need to adjust and change, and I think we’re going to be OK,” Lady Kavaliers Head Coach Jannon Coley said. “I think that Fuqua’s probably going to be one of the better teams that we see all season.”

The season opener was a rematch of the 2017 state semifinals contest in which the Lady Falcons narrowly defeated Kenston Forest, 7-6.

Five members of the Lady Kavaliers have graduated since last season, including top pitcher Lydia Wrenn, starting catcher Mackenzie Coley, starting shortstop Savannah Gunn and starting center fielder Rebecca Hadley. Those four girls were also most of the top hitters on the team.

“I had to replace a lot,” Coach Coley said. This year, “I think we’ll be competitive within our conference, and I think we’re going to have some good games like we had with Fuqua too. So, I think we’re going to be OK. We’re young, and we just have to kind of rebuild this year a little bit because we did lose a lot.”

Assuming a key role in the circle this year will be sophomore Rachel Tucker.

“She’s starting off as my starting pitcher,” Coley said, adding that eighth-graders Shelby Taylor and Taylor Maione will see a lot of mound time.

“I probably have about five pitchers on the team, but three of them will probably be rotating in and out,” Coley said following the season opener against Fuqua.

In terms of the team’s offensive standouts, the coach cited one of its three seniors, Josie Epperson.

“She is batting fourth for me, and against Fuqua the other day, she was 2-for-3,” Coley said. “… Hitting-wise, I think we’re going to be OK.”

She also highlighted freshman Berkley Rose.

“She’s probably only about 4-foot-10(-inches), but I can tell you she is unbelievable, and she is my center fielder, and she hit the ball deep into left field to score that run for us the other day (against Fuqua),” Coley said, adding that she expects great things from Rose.

The 2018 Lady Kavs’ roster is comprised of two eighth graders, two freshmen, three sophomores, a junior and three seniors.

Kenston Forest is scheduled to play a doubleheader against host Westover Christian Academy on Monday beginning at 3:30 p.m.