Kingston fast-pitch softball aims to compete for championship
One thing is clear when talking with the Kingston Lady Redskins fast-pitch softball players and coach: making it to the Class 3A State Tournament is not enough in 2019. No, this squad wants to contend for a state title when all is said and done. Senior pitcher Taylor Spence explained how a loss to Washington in last fall’s state quarterfinals has fueled them.
“We made it to the last eight and played Washington, who has a tradition of winning,” Spence said. “Our team was inexperienced at that level; like the atmosphere at that level.” Spence said the crowd numbered about 300 people that day, which was the largest the Lady Redskins saw in 2018.
“Nerves were high,” she said. “Knowing their history, it gets in your head.”
Spence added that the strike zone in that game was tighter than usual. “The umps were tighter and that really got to us,” she said. “Plus, Washington’s pitcher was throwing really well.”
The team lost some starts from last year’s squad. Spence said they were first baseman Jewell Henry, designated hitter Madison Auld, second baseman Kobi McDonald, leftfielder Jenna French and centerfielder Stewart McCuan.
Kingston fast-pitch softball head coach Darron Henson said the team returns a number of key starters and contributors who are ready to step into the starting lineup.
“We’ve got Taylor Spence back at pitcher, who’s also a key hitter and hits in the two-hole,” Henson said. “Then, there’s third basemen Dana Wagnon, who hits in the three-hole. She drives in runs. Both of them are very good leaders as well as seniors.”
Henson said sophomore Madi Jones will play first base and bat fourth.
“She hits with power and average,” he said. “She is very athletic which allows her to play the bunt game very well.”
Another senior, Tyla Bohanon, returns to play outfield, Henson said.
“She hits with power and is a consistent hitter as well as a dependable outfielder and leader,” he added.
Henson said Makayla Seeney will play shortstop next to Ryan Herndon at second base. Regan Davis will occupy center field with junior Emmi O’Steen returning at catcher.
“All four of these girls have a lot of speed and are very important in our defense,” he said.
Henson cited outfielder Torin Brown as a weapon on the base paths.
“She has been a very dynamic base runner who has had a great impact at the end of games to steal bases and score runs,” he said.
Henson said the team won regionals last year and qualified for the state tournament in fast-pitch for the first time in school history.
“I feel we have the pieces of the puzzle to make another deep run if we can stay healthy and focused,” he said.
This season will also feature a new assistant coach in Katy Caraway.
“I feel she brings a lot to the table,” Henson said. “She played for me and also played two years at Murray State. I’m really excited about her ability as a coach.”
Henson also made a point to thank those that the team’s facility upgrade possible.
“We are also very proud & appreciative of our facility upgrades,” he said. “We have a new dressing room & concession/ public restroom area.”
The Lady Redskins make their 2019 season debut on Friday, August 9 at 9 p.m. when they host Durant.