Lady Highlanders set to hit the softball diamond

Published 9:16 am Thursday, March 10, 2016

First-year coach Kristen Turbyfill is on a mission.
That mission is to make the Lady Highlanders softball squad a competitive team inside the Watauga Valley Conference. With teams like University High, South Greene, North Greene, and Unaka, the WVC can be a tough conference to play in, but according to the coach, she believes she has the talent to get the Lady ‘Landers on track.
“We want to win more games this year,” Turbyfill, who played softball at Walters State Community College in 2011-2012, said. “We are working on being more active in the field. We want to be stronger hitters and stronger fielders. We are just all around trying to get it together.”
This season, the Lady Highlanders will have a couple players filling in the pitching ranks. Topping the list will be junior Shian Strickland, who also competes on the basketball court for the Lady Highlanders.
“She pitches her guts out,” Turbyfill said about Strickland. “She gives it her all and that is all that I can ask for.”
Junior Johanna Johnson, who also plays basketball, could also see some playing time as a pitcher this season. However, Tuesday, during the Lady Highlanders’ match up with Sullivan North during the Three Rivers Conference Jamboree, Johnson manned third base, where she made a few stops on some hard hit balls.
“She is pretty good,” Turbyfill said about Johnson. “She can get down and get at it. She is great thrower and she can throw people out at first. She is pretty quick.”
On a team that is mostly made up of seven juniors and five sophomores, the lone senior is Josie Cornett, who plays in right field. During Tuesday’s jamboree, Cornett saw some action in the out field as the Lady Raiders drilled some deep shots.
“She made some good catches today,” Turbyfill said. “We are expecting some good things from her this year.
“Josie does a great job as leader on and off the field,” Turbyfill added.
The Lady Highlanders gave up 11 runs Sullivan North Tuesday, but the time on the field playing up a classification, gave coach Turbyfill an opportunity to see what her team needs to adjust before starting their season next week.
“We are going to have to work on our hitting and pitching a little more,” she said. “Shian (Strickland) just got out of basketball a week ago. So she hasn’t got practice much. We are trying to work that back up.”
The Lady Highlanders will begin things with a trip to South Greene on Wednesday, March 16 for a WVC matchup.

1 Sage Arnett So.
4 Kyndal Ulbrich So.
5 Emma Roberts Fr.
6 Josie Cornett Sr.
7 Johanna Johnson Jr.
8 Kali Bare Fr.
9 Chloe Van Dyke Jr.
14 Shian Strickland Jr.
19 Macy Markland So.
20 Meagen Markland So.
21 Abbey Gouge Jr.
22 Mattea Jennings Jr.
23 Jennifer Gibbs Jr.
24 Riley Barnett Jr.
25 Rein Strickland So.
2 Gracie Cook Fr.

16—at South Greene, 4:30 p.m.
21—HAMPTON, 4:30
28—at Mitchell High School, 4:30
4—at Sullivan South, 5 p.m.
6— UNAKA, 4:30 p.m.
11— at North Greene, 4:30
19— at University High, 5 p.m.
20— SOUTH GREENE, 4 p.m.
21— MITCHELL HIGH, 4: 30 p.m.
25— SULLIVAN NORTH, 4:30 p.m.
26— at Unaka, 4:30 p.m.
28— AVERY, 4:30 p.m.
2— at Johnson County, 5 p.m.

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