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Lady Warriors focused on winning

April 18, 2013
By Joey Kittle - Sports Editor ( , The Inter-Mountain

DUNMORE - Pocahontas County Rick Hartzell hopes a change in attitude can equal more victories in 2012.

The Lady Warriors won just one game last season and fell in the sectional tournament.

Hartzell's goal is to build a winning program and gain the type of success the school's basketball and soccer teams have displayed over the years.

"We didn't have the commitment we needed last year," Hartzell said. "We would have some starters not only miss practice, but not show up for games.

"It was hard as a coach to fill out a lineup card when you didn't know who was going to be there."

The second-year coach took a different approach this season during sign-ups for the team.

"I made a point to tell the girls they must show up for practices and be ready to play, or don't come out for the team."

Early in preseason practices, Hartzell has already noticed a difference in attitude.

"I have a better feeling about the girls," he said. "We haven't been able to practice too much because of the weather, but they seem to want to put in the work."

Pocahontas County lost five seniors from last season but a solid foundation returns.

Centerfielder Elizabeth Kelley, catcher Sarah Lambert, Kristen Beverage and pitcher Nateli Hartzell were some of the players that saw action last season.

Others on last year's roster projected to return to the team are Amanda Rogers, Brittany Pritt, Brooke Irvine, Emily Fuller, Harley Francisco, Karey Barb, Kristina Alexander, Rebecca Jerome, Tiffanie Alexander and Tiffany Rogers.

Bobbi McNabb, the sister of Miranda McNabb, who was an all-state honorable mention pick last year and now attends Alderson-Broaddus, also is out for the team this year.

"I think our strength will be our outfield," Hartzell said. "We have everyone back at those positions."

Hartzell said improvement, however, is needed everywhere else, including at the plate.

"We really struggled offensively last year," he said. "We've been in the cage a little bit (in the preseason) and I've seen some good early signs."

Despite last year's record, Hartzell saw some positives down the stretch.

"We lost three or four games by one run, and easily could have won those games," he said.

"In sectionals, we played hard and I was proud of how the team finished the season."

The Lady Warriors' schedule once again will be a challenge, facing several talented Potomac Valley Conference squads.

"We play in a very tough league," Hartzell said. "Teams like Moorefield, East Hardy and Pendleton County are always good, so will have our work cut out for us."

Pocahontas County will open the season March 28 at Moorefield for a Potomac Valley Conference contest.



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