Year after year, Turner Ashby has been a district, regional and state contender in softball. The success of this year’s junior varsity softball team is an indication that that trend will continue.
Coach Tammy Moore’s Knights are off to an 8-0-1 start in games through last week.
“They have played well so far and each game they keeping getting stronger on different aspects,” said Moore, in her 12th season as the Knights’ junior varsity coach, “whether it be hitting, making plays on defense or smart base running.”
Some of the basis for this group’s success was laid with travel team and Little League All-Star experience. Several members were among the 9-10 and 11-12 teams that advance through the district and beyond in previous years. While that success doesn’t necessarily translate to playing against older, bigger and faster athletes in high school, it does provide a strong foundation for junior varsity success.
The TA roster has four returning players and eight newcomers this year. First baseman Maddy Smith is the lone sophomore. Outfielder Jordan Eller, second baseman Katelynn Moyer and shortstop/outfielder Olivia Swope, all freshmen, make up the veterans. Also on the roster are Bethany DePoy, Natalie Helmick, Allie Herring, Ashley Huffman, Sierra Lambert, Morgan Milligan, Paige Richmond and Sydney Sheffer.
Moore is quick to point out that there are no “superstars” on the team.
“Our motto for the season is there are no top players or individual stars,” said Moore, a TA grad who played collegiately at Eastern Mennonite University.
“Our main focus on offense is line drives getting on top of the ball,” said Moore. “Line drives develop into base hits and base hits score runs.”
TA can adjust its offense as the game situation dictates. “There are different situations throughout the game where we may focus
on base hits or play small ball, bunt and slapping.”
As the Knights head into the second half of their season, Moore points to two keys to the team’s success. “We have a good group of girls and they want to win ball games and they have taken into the team playing.”
The Knights begin practice each day with the reading of a quote from a famous person. At a recent practice, the team heard these words of baseball great Babe Ruth: “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world but if they don’t play together the club won’t be worth a dime.”
Moore likes that each of her players contribute to the team’s success. “Each individual brings different strengths to the team, whether it be offense, defense or a team motivator,” she concluded.
TA plays at Waynesboro Tuesday and at Fort Defiance Friday.