MILL CREEK?- First-year Tygarts Valley softball coach Tim Collins is hoping for one thing out of his teams this season - better pitching.
"We have to improve on our pitching this season," Collins said. "We hit the ball pretty well last season and played solid defense, but we struggled on the mound. So we're putting a lot of emphasis on pitching during the preseason."
Collins takes over the program from Todd McCoy, who stepped down after one season. Collins said he's anxious to start his first season as head coach.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Andrew Davis
Tygarts Valley High School’s Jamie Patterson Kerns, left, and Shawna Taylor are two returning starters for the Lady Bulldogs this season. Tygarts Valley will open the season on March 16 at Gilmer County.
"It's a new thing to me, but I'm fired up to get the season started," Collins said.
Collins will return several starters from last year's squad, which won just two games.
Shawna Taylor led the team in hitting last year and was the squad's No. 1 pitcher. When not on the mound, Taylor also saw time in centerfield and in the infield.
Charity Lower was the team's top relief pitcher last season and also saw time on the outfield.
Whitney Collins and Cheyene Decker also return as starters in Tygarts Valley's outfield.
Alexis Vandevender will return to her starting position at second base, while Brittany Shanblin, who saw most of her action last year as a designated hitter will likely handle the first base duties.
Danielle Johnson and Jamie Patterson Kerns split time at cather last year for the Lady Bulldogs.
"We couldn't ask for a better group of players returning in both the infield and outfield," Collins said. "They all played their positions real well for us last season."
Ridgely Williams, Brittany Armstrong and Mikayla Harris are newcomers to the team this season.
The Lady Bulldogs will open the season on the road when they travel to Gilmer County on March 16.
Tygarts Valley's first home game is scheduled for March 23 against Potomac Valley Conference foe Tucker County.
"Overall its looks like we have a good group of girls this season," Collins said. "They all want to come out and have a winning season this year, especially our upperclassmen who are really biting at the bit."
This will be Collins' first stint at coaching softball at the high school level. He served as an assistant football coach at TV this past season.