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By Dan Perrine
For The Record 

Bridge City softball has new coach and returns pitching ace


Last season was another winning one for the Bridge City Cardinals softball team. The record was very good but the Cardinals did make an earlier exit than usual in the post season.

The new head coach for Bridge City softball who served as an assistant coach the last two years Kylie Bradley recapped the season. "I was proud of what these girls did because at the end of the day they came out and gave us all they've got. When it came to our playoff run we did fall a little short of our expectations. We fell to Huffman in the first round, and that's something that hurt but it also kind of fueled us for this year. We know that we want to do better than that, we would like to do much better than that. We did a lot of good things last year, but we had some struggles with injuries, but I think it made us stronger, and I think we're prepared for that mentally this year if we do hit injuries we'll lean on how we made it through last year and we'll be okay this year," Bradley reminded.

Nine returning Cardinals on the varsity will be moving around to help achieve depth at every position. Bradley explained, "We've just emphasized a lot on putting the Cardinals in different situations so that if we do hit a bump in the road or I do need to put them somewhere else or someone is having an off day we're going to switch it up, and I trust all of those returners to really go out on the field and play any spot I ask them to go."

Lexi Nugier played primarily shortstop last year will see more time at third where she played two seasons ago. Makenna Knight is back at second base and will move over to shortstop when Nugier switches to third.

Kyleigh Hamilton will work in the outfield and come in to play second at times. Brooklyn Droddy will split time at the two corner infield positions at first base primarily and sometimes at third base like she did last season.

Cambree LaComb will pitch when Carson Fall is not throwing. "Cambree will also play both corners for me, and honestly I might stick her in the outfield, I might stick her on second or where ever I need to put her," Bradley added.

Anna Autrey will go into left field and third mostly, but Anna can play any of the outfield positions when needed. Behind the plate is Haley Munoz who was all-district there last season, but is another Cardinal that can play at first or third base if needed.

A leader for the Cardinals will be Nicole Sasser having finished being a star with the girls basketball team. "We expect Nicole to come in and fill her spot in centerfield, it's pretty hard to take that kid out of that spot because she covers most of the outfield for us. We are also really looking for her to carry a spot in the lineup. She always has been very clutch, she's always made things happen, and her speed on the bags is unmatchable. We've missed Nicole in preseason because she was playing basketball, but I do expect big things from her," Bradley praised.

There are some new Cardinals playing at the varsity level this season. One of the newcomers sophomore Gabby Moore traveled with the varsity a lot last year but will see much more time on the field this season. Moore has been doing a great job in the outfield during the preseason.

Two freshmen Jensyn Yeaman and Jada Juneau are expected to stick with the Bridge City varsity. Bradley indicated, "They both will contribute a lot, especially the deeper we get into the season. They will run some bases for me, they both can throw, and both girls can play infield or outfield. Right now the way our lineup is looking they're getting more outfield time, but they're going to make a difference for our team no matter where they are."

Two other girls Kennadee Sheffield and Cheyenne Mendoza were mainly junior varsity players last year will be used as pinch hitters with the varsity this season. Not to be excluded is Kaylynne Christian as another catcher for the Cardinals.

An early focus for Coach Bradley has been on hitting because she wants the Bridge City bats to support the Cardinal pitchers. Two of the better hitters for the Cardinals are pitchers Carson Fall and Cambree LaComb.

During the preseason Anna Autrey has been hitting very well. Haley Munoz made a huge impact last year so she is expected to follow up with another big season swinging the bat.

"We're also working on a lot of small ball aspects just because sometimes we might run into a tough pitcher where big swings may not be connecting. We might need to shorten it up, and we might just need to make something happen. I'm pretty confident in the bats of the whole team, but the Cardinals have been working on shortening up, putting the ball in play, making something happen, driving the ball into the ground, putting a bunt down, and things like that. I am confident we'll hit the ball hard, but I'm also very confident that if we do run into a wall that we're going to make something happen," Bradley emphasized.

Bridge City made a great run in the playoffs two years ago with Carson Fall throwing outstandingly in the circle. Carson was injured missing the end of the district schedule and the one playoff game last season for the Cardinals.

Bradley is excited to have Fall back ready to throw like she did in 2022. Bradley elaborated, "Last year was hard for Carson not just physically being hurt but mentally not being able to be out there I know took a toll on her. Having her back is great the girls really fall in behind her. I speak frequently how much of a leader she is and having her on the mound makes a big difference for us."

Fall is throwing well according to the coach. Carson and Coach Bradley are learning each other which will help the coach call pitches, and Fall is sharing her preferences on what pitches she likes to throw to certain batters and in various situations.

"You can't have complaints about a kid like Carson. She's going to go out, she's going to throw her best game every time, and whatever she can do she's going to do it," Bradley expressed.

Behind Fall is Cambree LaComb who is also a force in the circle after being called on as a freshman last season to replace the pitching ace after her injury. Bradley analyzed, "Cambree is also throwing well, and every time she steps in the circle I'm impressed with her."

Expectations are high for Bridge City softball this season. "We should definitely go further than we did last year. Your goal is always to be better than last year, but I strongly believe we have a group that can make a run for Austin. My expectation is every time we step foot on the field we have a goal to do something better than we did the last game. We have baby step expectations, and then we have that big expectation at the end, and hopefully if we do all those little things and we continue to work hard through the season we will find ourselves meeting that post season expectation," Bradley concluded.


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