Bird softball has a new coach, Deanna Owens, and a new outlook for the 2014 season.
“Having a new coach really brought us together,” said catcher Carrie Cochran. “The chemistry is unreal.”
Cochran, a leader, calls her own games behind the plate while handling the defensive positioning with her instincts and great game knowledge.
Junior shortstop Stephanie Davenport is being recruited by James Madison, and is the teams top offensive threat and has excellent range at shortstop. Adding to the defense up the middle is second baseman Kim Ellis, who earned All-Dominion District honors last season.
Bird’s outlook is brighter in 2014 due to Manchester transfer Casey St. Clair, who will serve as the Skyhawks staff ace.
L.C. Bird’s boys of summer lost two key cogs- Bryce Harman and Austin Gammon, but return plenty of talent to the diamond in 2014.
“I really like the group we have this year,” said head coach Doug Wagner. “We will compete in Conference 12.”
The Skyhawks will be led by pitcher Logan Mills, who was the staff ace last season, and third baseman Darius Gillus is considered the team’s best hitter.
Junior second baseman Corey Anderson who missed a portion of last year due a broken nose is ready to go, and has impressed his teammates in practice. Wagner also expects catcher Adam Bondurant and outfielder C.J. Henderson have great years.
After 3-15 and 3-17 years respectively for Meadowbrook softball and baseball, both programs are looking up for different reasons.
“The outlook is bright for our softball program,” said Head Coach Mark Cooper. “This isn’t the same program you’d hear about five years ago.”
The Monarchs are led by senior pitcher Jenae Jackson who’s played varsity three years. With little softball experience to begin, she’s developed into a solid option for Meadowbrook.
A pair of underclassmen in sophomore second baseman Sydney Foster and catcher Kiera Randolph are both talented all-around players, the type that could follow in the steps of London Booker (NC Central) and play at the next level.
For baseball, fourth year head coach Drew Walker has his first squad that he’s had multiple years with many of the players in the program.
“We’ll play a better brand of baseball this year,” said Walker.
That better brand of baseball starts with a strong senior battery in pitcher Anderson Gonzalez and catcher Taye Berry. Gonzalez is the team’s most consistent pitcher and has the best control. When he’s not pitching he’s a versatile player in the infield. Berry, though a catcher, has great speed and bats lead-off. The team also rallies around shortstop Raquan Williams as a leader.