EHS Lady Cyclones softball preview
Published 1:12 pm Thursday, March 9, 2023
By Ron Marvel
The Lady Cyclones will wrap up their pre-season next week and while the losses of Madison Pritchard and Maddie O’Quinn will be difficult to deal with, the cupboard is not bare for Lady Cyclones Head Coach Kenny Hardin. Replacing Pritchard will be done by a trio of pitchers, Molly Johnson (JR), Lilly McDuffie (Soph) and Lela Byrd (Fr) will tow the rubber for the Cyclones this season “they’re throwing the ball well right now and just need to throw strikes for us” Hardin stated. The strength of this team very well may be a defense that on paper is as good in this area as it comes. Molly Johnson will work behind the plate is smart and will cut down a runner if called upon she will be relived by Kenidy Harris; although Harris will primarily anchor first base, “she is as good as it comes over there and she recently signed to play at Bluefield College,” Hardin shared. Second base will be manned by Emma O’Quinn (JR) who will make the move from left field. Shortstop will be played by Ember Jensen (SR) and the versatile Johnson whom Hardin describes as a kid who can play well anywhere. The Hot Corner will be played for the most part by Lana Ward (SR), although Hardin shared (FR) Sadie Williams could see some playing time there as well. The outfield, which flashes a lot of speed, will be held down by (JR) Hannah Morgan and (SR) Lana Ward in right field, (SR) Cheyenne Poiroux in centerfield, “she is something else to watch out there and there are not many balls she can’t track down,” Hardin commented. Maely Ingram (SR) will man left field and she is quick, athletic and possesses a strong arm. Underclassman Jozey Reese (SO) will see innings in various spots this season and will provide depth.
Offensively this Cyclones team has balance in the lineup, with the ability to lay down a bunt while also possessing the power to get extra-base hits and the occasional home run; a Kenny Hardin coached team will always be smart on the base paths and will find a way to generate runs. Ingram is an exceptional leadoff and Johnson does very well with contact and moving runners. The combination of Harris, Poiroux and Byrd in the heart of the lineup will be tough on any pitcher.
Weaknesses – Coach Hardin commented on the fact that at times he will have players playing out of their typical position and there is always concern about how a player handles those moves. This team lacks some experience on the mound and will have to throw strikes as they gain that needed experience.
Outlook- Volunteer is strong defensively and has an exceptional pitcher in Addyson Fisher who has a rise-ball that can create problems; Tennessee High is well coached, extremely tight defensively and run the bases well. The conference from top to bottom can be tough on any given night. The Lady Cyclones are in the midst of learning to play post Madison Pritchard but this team is as good defensively as they come and have a good balance of contact and power from top to bottom in their lineup. Look for them to be in the mix for first place in the Upper Lakes Conference.
2022 Season- 19-12 Record
Lost to Greeneville in the Region
Key Losses-Pitcher/ Madison Pritchard All-County, All-Conference and MaddieO’Quinn-infielder/All All-County, All-Conference (Both Players Signed to Play at Johnson University)