Vikings Softball Drops Season Opener Against East Montgomery
Wednesday in Cameron in it season opener, Union Pines split a junior varsity-varsity softball double header with the 1-A East Montgomery Lady Eagles. The Vike jayvees won 14-4 in five innings, while Union Pines' varsity team lost 14-6.
Last year the 2008 Viking varsity team went 8-13 overall and 3-11 in Cape Fear Valley conference play. Head coach Randy Calcutt lost several key players from that squad including his entire outfield corp.
"Last season we had arguably the best defensive outfield in our league," Calcutt said. That group was led by left-fielder and captain Brianne Hendrick, and speedy center-fielder Laquoston Hines.
Basically Calcutt's only returning position players are junior third baseman Brittany Belton and senior second baseman Chelsea Hardy. Senior Megan Barker will start in center field. Gone from last year's infield are slick fielding shortstop Amber Nunnaley, first baseman Lauren Rakes and catcher Gracen Bennett.
"Losing so many experienced fielders especially in the outfield," Calcutt said, "we are not yet close to where we were defensively last season. That inexperience showed up in the field against the Eagles as we made many unforced fielding errors."
One place where Calcutt does feel the VikingsYoung Vi are strong is at the plate.
"We have a lineup that I feel will consistently hit the ball pretty well this season."
The anchor of the lineup is Hardy, the team's leader in runs batted in last season. She will be the 2009 Vikes' clean-up hitter. In the field she will start at first base and see a little time at her old position at second.
Calcutt and Union Pines also lost Mikki Roop who was the primary pitcher last season. This year Megan Thompson, who was the jayvee team's ace in 2008, will be Union Pines' everyday starter, and Belton will fill in during emergency situations.
Currently Calcutt feels that there are many question marks regarding how well the 2009 Vikes will fare.
"With lots of new players with little varsity experience," Calcutt said, "we are hoping to work on the fundamentals and improve our team defense with the goal of trying to be competitive night in and night out.
Thursday both Union Pines' teams traveled to Sanford in a non-conference game with 4-A Lee Senior. Tonight the Vikes will be in Raeford where both squads battle the 4-A Hoke Lady Bucks. The Viking junior varsity game begins at 5 p.m., followed directly by the varsity contest.
Schedule: March 4-East Montgomery; 5-at Lee Senior; 6-at Hoke; 10-at North Moore; 12-Hoke; 13-Overhills; 17-Southern Lee; 18-North Moore;; 20-at Gray's Creek; 24-Harnett Central; 25-at East Montgomery; 27-at Triton; 30-Pinecrest; 31-South Johnston; April 3-at Western Harnett; 6-Lee Sr.; 7-at Overhills; 21-at Southern Lee; 24-Gray's Creek; 28-at Harnett Central; May 1-Triton; 5-at South Johnston; 8-Western Harnett; 11-15-Conference tourney.
Contact F.W. Manning at 639-5481 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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