August has brought about the start of the prep softball season for local programs.
Wesleyan won its second consecutive Class A Private state championship with a 26-win campaign in 2018. The Wolves return several All-State candidates including senior pitcher and University of Georgia-commit Madison Kerpics who won 20 games with an earned run average of 0.68 while striking out 283 batters in the circle.
Senior outfielder Jahni Kerr, who has committed to Florida State University, led the team in hits (53), runs scored (48), stolen bases (35) and walks (14) last season. Other top performers back for Wesleyan will be junior Reece Holbrook, who had a team-high 27 RBIs last year, senior Emma-Kate Means and junior Gracie Taylor.
“We are getting started in earnest which I’m very excited about,” Wolves coach Mary Stephenson said.
“We have several girls who have had great travel ball seasons over the summer. Each season is its own journey, but I think our team chemistry and commitment were exceptional last season. We will look to replicate those things in our team this season. We have a strong senior class who will provide great leadership, and we also finally have an upperclassman heavy team. I’m hopeful that experience will benefit us throughout the season.”
Wesleyan hosts Strong Rock Christian on Aug. 15.
“The leadership of our senior class will be crucial for us to achieve our potential,” Stephenson said. “We need to be consistent offensively and sharp defensively to back up our strong pitching staff. We believe that little things make big things happen, so we will be focused on excelling in small areas in order to achieve team success.”
Mount Pisgah Christian was also a postseason squad last season with a 10 win campaign. The Patriots return three senior starters in pitcher/infielder Megan Messinger, infielder/catcher Tori Dalton and outfielder/catcher Callie Jordan. Juniors Page Franz, Haley Agin, Tolu Adewumi and Addie Taylor are back along with sophomore Grace Hudson.
“Our players have been working very hard and we’re excited to get our regular season opened,” Mount Pisgah director of softball Brad Dalton said.
“Dreams are free, but goals have a price. If we want to reach our goals, we will have to put in the work. It’s more than softball, we’re helping our players be strong, confident, mature young Christian women. Stay focused, work hard, pray hard, and be the teammate that you imagine you would like to have on your team.”
The Patriots visit Christian Heritage on Aug. 15.
Centennial looks to build on an eight-win campaign in 2018 this season. The preparations have been good,” Knights coach Matt McCarthy said.
“We lost a good 2019 class of seniors and now we have a roster that only has five upperclassmen on it. We are carrying a lot of freshman and sophomores, so we are trying to get them ready for the high school game. They are doing a great job.”
Centennial does return two top sophomores in third baseman Mara Mershon and shortstop Caroline Jacobs. Seniors in pitcher Hailey Walker and centerfielder Chloe Healton will also be key contributors.
“I believe the key for us in 2019 is to throw strikes and make plays,” McCarthy said.
“Although that sounds very simple, our defense has let us down some in the past. We want to continue improving on our defense.”
The Knights host Cambridge on Aug. 15.