The Transylvania Times -

Rosman Softball Looking To Make Noise In SMC

 

March 7, 2019

Jeremiah Reed

The 2019 Rosman High School softball team.

With three returning all-conference players, a core of senior leaders and the infusion of some young talent, the Rosman Lady Tiger softball team has plenty of reason for optimism going into this season.

Under the guidance of new head coach Kyle Reese, Rosman is hoping to improve on its 7-13 record last season and get back into the mix of top teams in the Smoky Mountain Conference.

So far, Reese likes what he's seen from his players and is encouraged by the fact that they've looked sharp early in the season and will only continue to progress.

"My overall impression of this team is that we are really good in a lot of key areas. We lack just a few little details that will complete this team and help us start picking up W's. We're right there at it. Every game we've played in, besides one, has been close and we had opportunities to win," he said.

Rosman goes into 2019 having lost four starters to graduation, including all-conference selection Alicia Guinn.

This year's senior class includes Avery McNeely, Sierra Brooks and returning all-conference selection Emma Galloway, who led the team in batting average (.484) and hits (30) in 2018.

Galloway is the Lady Tigers' first baseman, while McNeely holds down second and Brooks patrols the hot corner.

"I could not be more pleased with our senior leaders than I am with those three girls," Reese said. "They keep the girls up. They're vocal leaders, on and off the field. They're encouraging. They're great people and great mentors on the softball field. They're doing it the right way."

The Lady Tigers have two other returning all-conference players in sophomore Hope Taylor and junior Abby Rice.

Taylor is Rosman's primary pitcher, and Rice is her target behind the plate.

Last year, Taylor went 4-6 with a 2.90 ERA over 60 innings.

She also had the second-most RBIs on the team, with 17 runs driven in.

"Hope is going to anchor the team. For a sophomore, the sky is the limit for her. She's doing great. We just need to get some timely hitting going," Reese said.

Rice is a solid defensive catcher, but also finished in the top three on the team last season in batting average (.407), RBIs (15), hits (22) and runs scored (22).

Reese said he expects Taylor to handle the lion's share of the pitching duties this year, with Galloway and freshman Elizabeth Daves offering some relief options.

Daves is the youngest member of the Lady Tigers and steps into the starting role of shortstop.

"Elizabeth is wonderful. She's probably the best shortstop we've had in a while. Her footwork is great. She runs the bases well. She's been a real blessing for us on defense and at the plate," Reese said.

Ashlyn Dodson and Maggi Galloway will also be featured members of the team, bringing speed to the outfield and on the base paths.

"I'm looking for a big season from Ashlyn batting in the two spot and playing left field for us," Reese said. "And there isn't a better athlete in Transylvania County than Maggi. There is nobody who compares with her arm strength and agility."

With a supporting cast that includes sophomores Rachel Carnathan and Gabriel Hightower, along with junior Maddie Henson, the Lady Tigers' lineup is one without any apparent weaknesses.

"We've got plenty of talent and we've got it at the right spots. This team plays together; there is a lot of unity. There are some big things ahead for this team," Reese said.

So far, Rosman has been well-tested this season, having gone against some of the top teams in the area.

And although the Lady Tigers are currently 0-4, three of those loses came by a combined six runs, and Rosman hung tough in each game.

Reese said he's proud of how his team has performed out of the gate.

"Against Brevard, we went against Sydney (Gilbert), who is one of the best pitchers in the area. Then we faced Hiwassee Dam and went against another great pitcher. And we were right there, toe-to-toe, in both of those games," he said.

Looking ahead, Rosman has five conference games this month sprinkled in with three non-conference contests.

Last year, the Lady Tigers went 7-9 in the SMC, finishing in sixth place.

Jeremiah Reed

Kyle Reese

Reese said he expects Robbinsville to be the team to beat this year, but given how Rosman has performed so far, if they can continue to develop over the course of the season, the Lady Tigers have the potential to be among the teams at the top of the standings.

"With our pitching and our defense, I look for us to be in every game with a chance to win. We're looking for perfection. The girls want to be held to a high standard and we're excited to see the progress that we make between now and the end of the season, hopefully, going into the playoffs. We've gone against several playoff-caliber teams so far, and we've played right there with them. That speaks for itself," he said.

 
 

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