St. Joseph Catholic School’s Lady Irish girl softball opponents have a limited time to try and rack up some wins against a new coach and an inexperienced team.
The 2020 version of the team is young, improving and gaining confidence in their ability to compete.
“This is my second year as head coach,” said Paul Hughes. “Last year we got better as the season continued and made a lot of improvements.”
That team lost three seniors to graduation and took its lumps from division foes like Manchester and Porter’s Chapel. Although it’s not quite showing in the win column, the Lady Irish have made strides that are marked steps forward from a year ago.
“Last year, we were getting cut by teams like Manchester and Porter’s Chapel 14-0,” Hughes recalled. “This year, we lost to both teams by one or two runs.”
If the Lady Irish are to take the next step in becoming a winning program, Hughes explained that two things must happen.
First, his sophomore class must lead the charge and second, the Lady Irish defense must become the cornerstone of the program.
“My sophomore class is my strongest by far,” he said. “My daughter, Lorie Anne Hughes (catcher) and our pitcher Emma Kate Threet are very experienced players who play softball year-round. They have been best friends since kindergarten. Our hitting really tails off at the bottom of our lineup. So, we will concentrate on putting the play in play on offense and making defense our strong suit. We have to get people out to be successful.”
St. Joe will also rely on the leadership and experience of senior starters, captain Skylar Harden, Kyla Moody, and Cha’koreui Holmes and junior starter, captain Kira Rancifer. Newcomers Zion Richard, Elle Holiman and Allie Bree Taylor will also play pivotal roles this year.
The Lady Irish have played three regular season games and have participated in one tournament. Fans can come out on August 31 and September 1 to check out this budding group of players for back-to-back home games. When asked about his team’s chances of capturing a few wins this season, Hughes laughed and said, “Oh, yeah, we’ll pull off a few upsets!”