Riverside High School softball coach Brad Andrews will rely heavily this season on an eighth grade and a ninth grade pitcher, but the Bulldog coach still has high expectations for his team.
Andrews said he expects upperclassmen like junior first baseman Lindsey Chamblee and senior catcher Angel Woods to provide leadership for his young pitchers, freshman Lexi Kilgore and eighth grader Leya Harvey.
“There are going to be growing pains, and everyone knows that,” Coach Andrews said. “But you have to take the positives with the negatives, and you have to build on the positives. We have two pitchers that are young, but our whole team is young. We only have one senior and three juniors.
“When you have a team that young, it is about developing and improving everyday. As long as they do that, we are going to be competitive.”
So far this season, the Lady Bulldogs have a 3-3 record, and Coach Andrews said the wins are a result of the players believing in the process he is trying to instill.
What makes the team special, Chamblee said, is that all the players encourage each other to do their best.
“The young pitchers need support, and we have to be there for them because they are still young,” Chamblee said. “We are there to encourage them to do better. Just like they encourage us to do better.”
For Woods, being the lone senior isn’t easy because she knows the younger players are all looking up to her.
“Being the only senior now I think there is pressure on me. I remember when I was younger I would look up to the seniors. Now it is my job to be a leader,” Woods said.
Along with Chamblee and Woods, other talented players on this year’s Lady Bulldog team include junior shortstop Gail Adams, sophomore infielder Karson Sides and sophomore left fielder Mollie Sutherland.
Now in his eighth season at the helm at Riverside, Coach Andrews said he enjoys coaching not just for the competition but also in the ability to influence so many young lives.
“Especially since I have two young daughters who look up to the players on the team,” Coach Andrews said. ‘
“My daughters see these girls kind of like big sisters. So, I like how they set a great example.”