Having a team that started several younger players in 2021, the Central High Lady Bronchos look to improve on last season finish as they prepare for 2022.
Now being the longest tenure coach in Stephens County, Coach Chad Weldon will have no seniors on this year team, however they will have two juniors in their pitcher and catcher combo coming back.
Going 9-15 a year ago, Weldon said that having girls with one more year of experience will help his team and believes this team has potential to go further than their fourth place finish in the conference.
“I will definitely miss my two seniors from last yer. I thought both of them did a great job for me,” Weldon said. “We have no seniors this year and we are young and we were young last year but the freshman that started for me last year they have a year of experience and we have been going hard this summer and my two juniors which has started for me their whole career are our pitcher catcher combination. We will be looking for a lot of leadership among them.”
The junior pitcher he is talking about is Andi Standridge who had 133.3 innings pitched with 102 strikeouts on the season and will be leading the cause in the circle again for the Lady Bronchos.
Standridge who had her sister graduate last year believes this group is a lot better coming into 2022 and believes that playing together is a plus for this team.
“I feel like this year we are going to be a lot better with a group of people that have been playing for a long time,” Standridge said. “With the majority of our team playing last year and starting last year, I feel like we will be pretty good this year.”
Weldon stated that Standridge has improved on some of her pitches and is throwing a lot faster and she has noticed the difference as well and believes that improving is a must in the sport.
“I feel like if you are staying the same…we play a lot of the same girls every year and they will eventually get to where they will probably teeing off you,” Standridge said. “You need to be improving and the more you work they better you are.”
The other junior is the catcher in Rashel Johnson and has been catching Standridge for many years and she echoes that expectations of being one year more experienced will help.
“We had a lot of freshman last year and we won’t have any seniors this year but I think we will have a good sophomore and junior group,” Johnson said. “We will also have some freshman so I think this will be a good year after our building year and a strong year for us.”
Johnson stated that they are working to achieve their small goals and believes that if they meet the small goals they can meet the larger goals they have in mind.
“I feel like…so we got note cards and we got to write down little goals that we personally wanted to achieve and what we wanted to achieve as a team,” Johnson said. “I think we keep striving for our little goals that we have set individually that will help build us stronger as a team. As each one of us achieve those we will help build each other and achieve everyone’s goal.”
Weldon said despite not having a winning record last year, the goal is to win a district championship and he believes this team can achieve that.
“The last two years we have not had a winning record, which we play a pretty tough Class A schedule, but our key right now is that we want to have that winning record,” Weldon said. “With that winning record, we want to go to a district that we can win districts and see what happens at Regional. That is the key part for us.”
The season opens at home several times as the open at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 8 against Rush Springs High School.