Published On: Wed, Apr 21st, 2021

ON THE SIDELINES: Lady Braves softball team is building teamwork

 

By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.

One Feather Staff 

 

The Cherokee Lady Braves varsity softball team is building a team spirit and getting better with each outing.  

The 2021 Cherokee Lady Braves are shown, left to right, back row – Hayley Keever, Boie Crowe, Mahala Allison, Ellise Stamper, Mackenzie Reed, Alayna Morgan, Awee Walkingstick, Shaylyn Barker, and Fala Welch; front row – Destiny Mills, Adia Frady, Creedon Arch, Jenna Cruz, and Donna Thompson. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather photos)

Albert Arch, Lady Braves varsity softball head coach, said, “I’ve got a good bunch of girls. They work hard every day in practice. They do anything we ask them to do. Like one of the girls said, we’ve just got to get it all to come together. Our defense is our strong point and our offense is coming along.  Just finish the game, that’s what we’ve got to do. We start out good then we have one error or so and it kind of hurts us, but we’ve got to finish the game. We’ve got to learn to finish it.”

Coach Arch is impressed with his team’s grit and determination.  “They really get after it, they really do. They really try hard. You’ve got to give them that. I’ve always told them that you leave it all out on the field and that’s what they do. That’s all I ask. I don’t like to get beaten, but if they leave it all out on the field and it’s a better team that beats us, I can accept that.”

He said the team is getting better as the season progresses.  “They learn from their mistakes. They work harder. I’ve seen some big differences in some of the ladies with the offense – with their skills – which before they wouldn’t have touched the ball. And now they are hitting the ball and just about all of them can play. We’ve got a good bunch of girls. We’ve got a lot of moving parts. So, if something happens, we’ve got two or three who can play that position, which is a good thing.”

“We’re playing as a team,” said Hayley Keever, senior first base.  “We don’t focus on our individual selves as much.  I think what we’ve learned from each other we just need to carry on throughout the rest of the season. And, we already have the mindset of winning. We’re a strong team and I think we just need to carry it to the finish.”

Shaylyn Barker, senior third base, commented, “I feel like we’re a lot stronger this year. And, we have more talent and more of the girls have played more. So far, we’ve just really meshed well as a team. So, we’ve won a few games. It’s been pretty good so far.”

Mackenzie Reed (#1), Lady Braves junior, slides into second base during a game at home against Swain Co. on the afternoon of Monday, April 19.

Of her team’s strengths, she noted, “We’re really good at defense. We’re really strong defensively. And, once we get started with our hits we’re just really consistent throughout the game. So, I definitely would say that’s what pushes us ahead in those games that we win or those big innings that we have.”

Destiny Mills, senior outfielder, echoed Barker’s thoughts.  “I think defense is definitely our strong suit, but we’re really getting better at offense. We’re really starting to come together with that.”

She has also been impressed with the teamwork being built with this year’s Lady Braves squad.  “I think we’re getting used to each other and the way we all play together. And, we’re all just kind of forming as one team.”

Mills added, “I think it’s really important to try to rally the team together because if you get down, it’s definitely important to have a leader. And, really, just know where the play is. That’s really important to the other players, and the other outfielders too.  I think we need to have a positive mindset, and one that we go in knowing that we’re going to win and that we’re wanting to win, not that they have the advantage over us.”

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