By Joshua Price/Sports Editor
Glencoe High School’s varsity girls softball team begins its quest for the Class 3A crown this weekend when it travels to Vestavia Hills to compete in the North Central Regional Tournament.
The tournament features five ranked teams. Top-ranked White Plains, Fourth-ranked Glencoe, fifth-ranked Winfield, seventh-ranked Saks and eighth-ranked Susan Moore will tangle for a spot in the state tournament next week in Montgomery.
The Lady Yellow Jackets have accumulated a 33-10 record this season, winning the Etowah County championship and, most importantly, the Class 3A, Area 10 title.
Glencoe made an impressive showing last week in the area tournament, which is arguably one of the toughest areas in Class 3A. The Yellow Jackets defeated Susan Moore in championship match and previously ranked Ashville in first-round action.
Glencoe is one of the most consistent teams in the county. Head coach Amy Travis said the Jackets practiced well this week, but will keep with their usual “business as usual” game plan.
“We are not changing anything we are just working on every situation imaginable to make sure we are ready for anything in the tournament. We want to make sure everybody knows what to do.”
Offensively, Glencoe hits the ball well. Sarah Wallace and Morgan Lyles lead the lineup in the one and two spots, respectively. Jordan Sims and Jamie McGuire lead the team in home runs and RBIs. The two bat third and fourth, respectively, in the lineup.
“Sarah and Morgan compliment each other well in their roles,” Travis said, “and with Jordan and Jamie following them, we pick up runs often.”
Defensively, pitcher Sims and catcher McGuire are one of the top batteries in Class 3A. Sims leads the county in wins (32) and strikeouts (253). McGuire is a solid defender with a powerful arm, which limits opposing runners’ ability to steal bases.
“Those two are the heart and soul of this team,” Travis said. “When they are ‘clicking’ on both sides of the ball, we are hard to beat. They are a great duo.”
Sims usually gets most of the media attention, but Travis said McGuire is a vital piece to the team’s success.
“Jamie [McGuire] is a great team leader. We call on her to get the team focused and ready to play. We can count on her to do her part on the field and lead by example. She is a solid catcher and she lets us know when things aren’t going well defensively.”
Travis said Glencoe wins games by playing error-free defense, which was the focal point of this week’s practices.
“At this point in the season every team we play is good. We made too mistakes in the area tournament, most especially against Susan Moore. There is no room for mistakes at this point in the season.”
Travis said the road to Montgomery will be hard and will require nearly perfect execution to win.
“We have to play our game, which is error-free ball. We have to think before the ball is hit on defense and we have to hit the ball well if we want to win.”