By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent
Following a season that saw Glencoe High lose in the second round of the North Central Regional Tournament, the softball Yellow Jackets are really swatting the ball and hope to make more noise this year.
So far, so good, as Glencoe is winning more than 80 percent of its games and currently is ranked No. 2 behind 2012 state runnerup Pisgah in the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s state poll.
“So far, I like the way they’ve played,” coach Amy Travis said. “They’re doing everything better this year. I can’t really complain.”
Travis noted that the defense is a lot better.
“They’re making the small plays,” she said. “And if you make the small plays, the big plays will take care of themselves. And there aren’t that many big plays in a game, anyway.”
As for pitching, senior ace and Jacksonville State signee Jordan Sims is back and winning a lot of ballgames. No. 2 Jessica Rathje, a sophomore, is also getting a lot of work and is slated to be the ace next year.
“So far, I’ve been trying to swap them up, starting one then the other,” Travis said. “They’re both doing a good job. But with area play coming up, Sims will probably start getting more work.”
Then there are the batters.
Travis said that the entire lineup is producing and “contributing to the success, in some way or the other.”
Senior catcher and Southern Union signee Jamie McGuire is the catalyst. So far, she’s pounding the ball and is coming through in big situations.
“She is wearing it out,” Travis said. “Hitting the ball hard at every at-bat. She’s already got either three or four home runs.”
Most of the current team participates in summer travel ball, so the players are fairly well versed in softball knowledge.
“I like for the girls to know how to react in different situations,” Travis said. “They learn a lot of that in travel ball, and during a game, I point out things to them, hoping they don’t panic when they get in those situations.”
The Yellow Jackets’ Class 3A, Area 7 competition includes Ashville, Cleveland and Susan Moore.