First-year softball coach Angie Hummeldorf is taking it a game at a time this fall. So far, so good.
Richmond Hill High School bounced back from a season opening loss to pull out a 6-5 win Thursday over Region 3-AAAAA foe Ware County.
The Lady Wildcats (3-1, 1-0) are a work in progress for Hummeldorf, who inherited a squad that finished 10-19 in 2011.
"Our program is being re-evaluated each and every game, every practice, every day," said Hummeldorf, who served as an assistant under former coach Sean Strickland. "The No. 1 key for us is the team is greater than the individual. I feel like every player on our roster is a key to our success."
The "Big Team Little Me" approach hasn’t exactly been easy for the former RHHS assistant, who wound up having to cut a number of upperclassmen as she made room on both the varsity and JV rosters for a large number of talented youngsters.
"Having to cut three seniors who have been a part of the program for so long and are also great kids, it is hard for a coach to do," Hummeldorf said. "But it’s not a personal thing. It’s all about the program."
That means no one has a job sewn up, she said, though she expects everyone on her 12-girl varsity roster to contribute.
The group includes seniors Makayala Peny, a senior pitcher and first baseman who hit .286 in 2011, Amber Nixon, an outfielder and shortstop and Kaylee Vaughn, a senior outfielder who compiled a .295 batting average.
Junior second baseman Kristy Davenport (.357 average last fall) and junior catcher Sophia Lorimer (.308) round out the returning upperclassmen.
Newcomers include junior transfer Amber Riviera, a shortstop, and Ciara Patrick, a junior who didn’t play last season.
Sophomores Caroline Williams, Aly Crum, Madison Connor and freshman Samantha Mault also are on the varsity roster and expected to contribute. Williams, an outfielder, split time between JV and the varsity last season, as did Crum. Connor was a JV infielder while Mault, a pitcher, is getting her first high school experience
"Each game we’re looking at who’s our top nine," Hummeldorf said. "We’re definitely going to have competition (for jobs) and that’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing and that’s what I stress to these young ladies. ‘They’re competing with you for a job because they’re your teammates. You’re not enemies. You’re here to make each other better. The team comes first, it’s not about individual. If somebody beats you for the spot it’s because they earned it.’"
See full story in Aug. 18 issue of Bryan County News