Lady Cardinals look to repeat as district champs in softball
Last updated 2/19/2023 at 8:05pm
Last season was a great one for the Bridge City Lady Cardinals softball team. The Lady Cardinals were the undefeated district champions and advanced to the third round in the state playoffs before being eliminated by the eventual state champion Liberty Lady Panthers.
Coach Raven Harris has all but three of her Lady Cardinals back from last year's squad. "The girls came back with a fire this year so we're excited to see where that takes us. We played a really good series against Liberty which gave us a lot of stuff to work on for this season, and we're hoping we'll be back in that same spot," Harris replied.
With so many players returning Harris has much of the same starting lineup for the Lady Cardinals. Senior middle infielders Marlie Strong at shortstop and Makenna Carey at second base will give Bridge City strong experience there. Another senior Amaris Larkin patrols the outfield with her exceptional speed. Harris advised, "All of those kids are really good leaders, they're going to produce for us offensively, and help the younger kids get into the swing of things."
An important Lady Cardinal that is back is junior Carson Fall who was the top pitcher in the district last season and one of the best in the state of Texas. "She is something special. Carson is just determined this year. She came back throwing a little bit harder, she's got a lot more control. She's constantly working trying to figure out how she can improve, so Carson's been a good leader for us to have for our entire program," Harris praised.
There are some new girls on the Bridge City varsity that should contribute this year. Sophomore Kyleigh Hamilton has worked really hard and has improved greatly in the last year. Offensively Hamilton has shown good progress with her bat. She will be in the mix as a middle infielder when Strong and Carey are needed elsewhere.
A junior who will be seeing significantly more playing time this season is Anna Autrey. Her contributions will be mainly with her much improved hitting. Harris exclaimed, "You've never seen a kid swing a bat the way that Anna does. She's been working really hard in the off season. I'm excited to see how she produces for us as well."
Bridge City has several girls playing multiple sports that are on the varsity softball team. "One thing I really enjoy about these kids that play multiple sports is all year long they are constantly competing so by the time they get to me they know number one what to expect that we want to win just like every other program at this school. It's been a good addition for us," Harris emphasized.
Early in the season the hitting has been a little inconsistent for the Lady Cardinals. Harris reminded it is a dilemma to find who can help produce some runs early in a game to get the team on a roll.
Amaris Larkin a senior does a good job of that for Bridge City. Larkin is the leadoff batter, puts the ball in play, and can run the bases very well.
Sophomore Brooklyn Droddy started much of last year for the Lady Cardinals. Droddy swings the bat well and will be a good fixture in the middle of the lineup for Bridge City.
Another offensive weapon is Nicole Sasser who is very fast. "If I could get her to put the ball on the ground we're going to be in a good spot," Harris indicated.
Pitching has been a strength for Bridge City the last couple of years and looks to be even better with junior Carson Fall a year older and wiser in the circle. Harris said, "Carson has changed her load which is not something most people are going to notice, but it has really improved her velocity. Everyone knows Carson Fall, she's going to hit her spots, she's going to show up every game, so that's a great thing for us to have her leading our pitching staff."
Senior Kaydence Corkran is a good compliment to the power pitching of Fall. Corkran moves the ball well with her pitches and is a change of pace for opposing batters after facing Fall.
A freshman Cambree LaComb gives Coach Harris a third arm to call on when needed. "Cambree is going to be a good middle ground between Kaydence and Carson. She's not going to throw as fast as Carson, but she still moves the ball really well, she hits her corners, she's done really well in the games we've thrown her in so far, and we're expecting all three to get a good number of innings during the upcoming tournaments before district," Harris evaluated.
Coming off the outstanding season a year ago and with so many key players returning the expectation is naturally set very high for this year's Bridge City Lady Cardinals. Matching and exceeding that expectation is the goal. Harris analyzed, "It's hard to look that far in advance, but ultimately that's what we want. We want to end up making another decent playoff run. Right now our big focus is we've got to produce runs, and so our goal short term is how can we produce runs early in a game."
The Lady Cardinals hope to compete throughout the preseason and in the district. "If these kids can get on board, they put their heads down, and work hard I think we've got a good shot to look at that long term goal of making a decent run," Harris concluded.
The Bridge City Lady Cardinals scrimmaged their Cow Bayou rival the Orangefield Lady Bobcats on Tuesday, February 14, winning 7-2 at Bridge City. Later that same night the Lady Cardinals scrimmaged the Port Neches Groves Lady Indians.
This week the Lady Cardinals varsity squad will participate in the Jasper Tournament. The junior varsity will host a tournament in Bridge City on Thursday through Saturday, February 23-25.