By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent
Are big things headed toward Attalla, softball-wise?
With a team that is loaded with talented freshman and sophomores, first-year coach B.J. Jones feels his Etowah High team has the potential to score a lot of wins this year.
There are only two Blue Devil seniors in pitcher Paden Allen and center fielder Whitney Steele.
“I expect that pair to really spark us,” Jones said. “They should both be big contributors this year.”
And there are only three juniors.
“Like the seniors, we need any junior player to lead, Jones added.
The team’s top pitcher, Madison Grant, is a tall freshman.
“She has pretty good velocity on her fastball, but her strength is in her location,” Jones said. “She’s a pretty impressive softball player.”
Batting leadoff for the Blue Devils is sophomore Nicki Rodgers, a “speedster who can get on base and make things happen,” Jones pointed out.
The player to watch, however, is sophomore catcher Amber Jones.
“She can hit and she can throw,” coach Jones said. “She’s smart and understands how to pace a game and how to work with pitchers. Amber is one of the top players in the area.”
Etowah opened its season on Thursday (Feb. 28) with one senior on the field. The rest of the lineup featured freshmen and sophomores.
Jones is in his 11th year as a Blue Devil coach/teacher.
“I guess I’ve now coached in every sport except basketball,” he said. “This job came open and I applied. I’ve been out of baseball for awhile, but this is my first stab at softball. They gave me the job and I’m trying to give a lot to the team.”
Joining Etowah is Class 5A, Area 13 is Southside, Boaz and Fort Payne.