The Transylvania Times -

2018 Softball Preview: Lady Tigers Expecting To Battle In Rigorous SMC


March 5, 2018

Jeremiah Reed

2018 Rosman High School softball team

Following the loss of six seniors, there will definitely be some new faces on the diamond for the Rosman Lady Tigers in 2018.

However, that loss hasn't tempered expectations for second-year head coach Mary Ramey.

Last year, Rosman finished 9-14 overall, with an 8-8 record in the Smoky Mountain Conference.

However, that record doesn't reflect just how competitive the Lady Tigers were in 2017.

Of their 14 losses, six were by two runs or less, with five coming by a single run.

With five of those games coming against SMC opponents, Rosman's season could have had a very different outlook if not for a few tight losses.

Going into this season, Ramey said she has a good feeling about her team's chemistry and is expecting positive results.

"We lost six seniors from last season, but we've got some good talent coming up to replace those spots. Right now, I'm pretty confident that we're set in all positions and I'm looking forward to a good season," Ramey said.

Of the six departing seniors, five were everyday starters. Luckily, the Lady Tigers have four incoming seniors to fill those positions.

Those four include Christa Galloway, Kaitlin Connor, Alicia Guinn and Sydney Orr.

Guinn had a breakout junior season, finishing second on the team with a .493 batting average and scoring a team-high 28 runs.

Galloway was one of the team's big sticks, leading the way with a team-high 17 extra-base hits, including six home runs and nine doubles.

She was also the team leader in RBIs (29) and finished with a .791 slugging percentage.

Along with Orr in centerfield and Connor, who is expected to shift between first base and outfield, Ramey said she is pleased with the leadership she's seen from her quartet of seniors.

"All those girls have played multiple sports over their careers and have been leaders on and off the field," she said.

Complementing the senior class is a bevy of younger players.

Some key returners include Emma Galloway and Abby Rice.

Galloway will serve as one of the Lady Tigers' main pitching options after splitting time on the mound with Paiton Reese last year.

Rice, a sophomore, started last year on the jayvee squad before moving up to varsity.

She proved to be a valuable addition to the team, finishing the year with a .370 batting average and 11 RBIs in 17 games.

Ramey said she expects Rice to fill the void behind home plate left by Marissa Henson.

There are also some players moving up from jayvee that Ramey will look to for production.

Those include Ashlyn Dodson, Avery McNeely and Maggi Galloway.

To bolster the pitching, Ramey will turn to freshman Hope Taylor, who she said will split innings with Galloway. The Lady Tigers will also explore other pitching options as the season progresses.

"I really see Emma and Hope throwing most of the innings," Ramey said. "On jayvee, we've got Taylor Creamer as one option and we're also working with Maggi trying to turn her into a pitcher, too."

While the roster itself has started to take shape, the lineup is still being tweaked.

Ramey said she's working with some girls fielding new positions, adding that defensive shifts will depend on who is pitching that game.

"Really, we've just been trying to fine-tune who goes where. We've got some people trying out some different positions. Our infield is pretty solid and I'm also confident in our outfield," she said.

Given that a fair portion of the roster hasn't seen a lot of varsity action, Ramey said she's been working on situational softball and trying to get her players to understand their defensive roles.

"We've been working a lot on bunt coverage. I've been focusing mainly on the girls becoming students of the game. We've got a lot of talent, but we've got young players who don't have a lot of game experience. So, they need to become students of the game and understand what they need to do in certain situations," she said.

"I've told the girls that physical mistakes are going to happen, but we can't have the mental mistakes because that's what loses ball games," Ramey added.

As far as the season outlook, the SMC will almost certainly be as competitive as ever.

Rosman has finished in third place each of the last three seasons behind perennial power Hiwassee Dam, as well as Robbinsville and Murphy.

Six teams finished with at least a .500 record in the SMC last year.

That means the Lady Tigers can't expect many easy wins in 2018, but Ramey said she is confident her team can find their way and stay among the teams at the top of the standings.

"I think our conference is very strong in softball. Robbinsville is going to strong, Murphy is going to be strong, Hayesville is going to be strong. On any given day, any team in the conference can beat each other. We definitely have the talent to be in the hunt. We just have to put it together and work toward that common goal," Ramey said.


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