According to Coach Al Butler, Bryan County’s softball team comes up with a phrase every season to best describe its attitude.
This year, that phrase is “we can and we will.” It is a reflection, Butler said, of the doubters who don’t think the team will accomplish much this year.
“They’ve been hearing the chatter from a lot of people who think this is a .500 team,” Butler said. “We have something else in mind.”
It might be easy for some to think this year’s team has a hard act to follow after the 2015 Redskins finished 29-12 and reached the Class AA Final Four. Of the four seniors on that team, three are now playing in college — Brooke Barfield at Georgia Tech, Kaylin Leggett at Valdosta State and Layton Harrell at Shorter University.
“The girls have to remember that this is a whole different team,” Butler said. “They have to find their own identity.”
That identity includes an entirely new infield and three seniors in the outfield.
“That means all of the leadership is behind the infield, which is unusual,” Butler said. “The girls really have to work on communicating during the game, but if they buy in to what we’re doing, we will make the state playoffs.”
Butler also thinks the team can win 20 regular season games — out of 26.
“It’s possible,” he said. “That’s 20 wins before the playoffs start.”
The Redskins picked up the first of those 20 with a 2-0 win at home against Portal Tuesday.
“We scored one run in the bottom of the fifth and one in the bottom of the sixth, but our scrimmage Monday was rained out so they were a little nervous the first time on the field,” Butler said.
Shelby Barfield, Brooke’s younger sister, pitched the complete game shutout. The junior has verbally committed to play softball at Georgia Southern.
The Redskins were ready for game two on Wednesday but transportation issues prevented Islands High School from making the trip to Pembroke. Bryan County hosts Vidalia today at 4:30 p.m.
“They are loaded,” Butler said. “They legitimately have a chance to win it all.”
Butler said Metter, Bacon and Jeff Davis will also be tough region opponents.