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Softball: Trimble returns 7 starters

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SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW

By Dave Taylor

Former Trimble County High School athlete and perennial assistant coach Tanya Black has taken the helm of the TCHS Lady Raiders softball program this year. Longtime coach Walter McHargue stepped down after a 2011 season that saw the Lady Raiders win only four of 22 games.

“Last season was not what I had hoped for,” Black said. “We had some great games like beating North Oldham and then some not so great games. I think at the beginning of the season you have high expectations because the team in front of you has great potential. We just kept pushing them to be better. It wasn’t a great season, but we have a lot of great memories.”

Trimble lost only two members of last year’s diamond girls to graduation. The loss of Raegan Black and Jana Dunlap “left two big holes on the left side of the field.  They both were great players,” Black said.

Black has a wealth of returning talent among the players who came out for this year’s team. Among them are seniors McKenzie Dunlap, Emily Black, Katie Temple and Hannah Lira.

“They all four can hit the ball and play solid defense,” Black said. Junior Hannah Roberts “can be a key player for us. She is a very strong hitter.”

Sophomores Paige Black and Jessie Dunlap are returning starters.

“Both can hit the ball and both are very quick,” Black said.

Returning pitcher Leyna Ritter, another junior, “had some health issues last year but we are confident she will return strong this season,” Trimble’s coach said.  Freshman Kayla Baker will be working behind the plate this season. A new starter this year is sophomore McKenna Ginn, who Black says “can hit the ball hard and has fit in playing the outfield.”

Trimble’s first-year head coach believes her team’s best strength will be the experience that is returning with seven of last year’s starters back for 2012. “With so many returning players we can only get better from here. I also believe we are going to be a better hitting team than we have been in the past several years. We have really been working on our hitting and I can already see a difference in the girls. We have always been a pretty decent defensive team and I think that that again will be a strong point for us.”

Although Trimble is off to a slow start, Black says she has “high expectations” for the season and hopes “we will turn it around very soon. I believe good things will happen for us it’s just a matter of time. We can play with any team in the (North Central Kentucky) conference; we just have to believe we can.”

Black acknowledged she has some big shoes to fill following McHargue as head coach of the softball program. In his long coaching career at Trimble McHargue served at various times as head football coach and girls’ varsity basketball coach in addition to helming the TCHS softball program. Black has served as softball varsity assistant for the past nine years.

“In that time I have learned a lot,” Black said. (McHargue) is an icon in the softball arena. He was an excellent coach and always made his teams better by the end of the season. I hope to take what I have learned from him and apply it to my own style of coaching,” which, she said is much like McHargue’s.

She said she has already faced a number of challenges while learning the ropes, “things such as the paper work that is involved, making sure the officials are at the game, getting the field ready, the little things.  I think Coach McHargue has taught me well and I am ready for the challenge,” Black said.