BOAZ – The Snead State Community College softball team is excited about the 2014 season and is expecting to begin a successful era under new head coach Tracy Grindrod.
I'm enjoying getting to know the student athletes, and I'm looking forward to inspiring and pushing them to be better," said Coach Grindrod. "They have the will to win, and it is our job as coaches to get each player involved and help them contribute to the overall success of the team."
Grindrod succeeds Coach Lisa Bright, who resigned in January after her husband accepted a new position in South Carolina.
Coach Grindrod came to Snead State after serving nine years as the assistant softball coach for the highly competitive Wallace State Community College in Hanceville. He helped guide the Lady Lions to the National Championship in 2013 and 2008, two runner-up finishes in 2009 and 2010, a third place finish in 2012 and seven Alabama Community College State and Region XXII Championships. He's set some high expectations for his players.
"Our team goals are to have a team GPA of 3.5 or above and have all sophomores graduate. On the softball field, we're looking to participate in post-season play and increase our winning percentage to .750. We're going to learn to play our best each time out, regardless of who is on the opposing side," said Grindrod.
Grindrod's coaching staff is also new this year. Assistant Coach Twyla Haggermaker is a former Lady Parsons softball player. Grindrod has also added Holli Hill as a pitching coach.
"As a new coaching staff, we hope to form the players into a cohesive team that works together to accomplish our team goals. Enthusiasm, a love of the game and energy will be the keys to our success as each player works to bring intensity to the field each day. We're going to grow each week," said Grindrod.
Sophomore experience will prove to be vital to the team's success.
Jordan Beasley (Southside) and Kelsey Pelham (Opelika) will provide the Lady Parsons with solid pitching experience in the circle. Mary Graves (Lacey Springs), Samantha Sullivan (Madison) and Alex Nations (Pleasant Grove) at catcher will anchor Snead State's defense. Nations has already signed a scholarship to continue her softball career at Point University in West Point, Ga.
Katlin Light (Albertville), Kyla Holland (Boaz) and Karlee Hunter (Southside) are instrumental at the corners and all have strong, steady bats. Shainna Pearce (Albertville) is returning in the outfield and is full of speed. Two transfers will also help lead the team this season. Shanena Blankenship (Huntsville) will be in the outfield and Caitlyn Roe (Geraldine) in the middle infield.
"As we work to find out team's identity, these sophomores will provide the base for us to build on," said Grindrod.
The team will also build on the success they had in the fall in the classroom. The team finished with a 3.43 grade point average and had seven student athletes with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
The Lady Parsons will travel to Wallace State to compete in a tournament this weekend. Snead State will then take on Motlow State on Tuesday and Central Alabama on Thursday, Feb. 13. Both games are double-headers and begin at 1 p.m. Conference season will begin on March 28 for the Lady Parsons when they take on Southern Union at home.