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By JOSH CLAYWELL firstname.lastname@example.org
RADCLIFF — After winning just one game last season, the North Hardin Christian Lady Falcons have a pretty simple mantra under first-year coach Nicki Coleman this year: Just win, baby.
“My goal is to win and to have them learn,” said Coleman, who takes over for Kim Kimbrough. “I want to build. This is a building program, and with the amount of underclassmen we have, our future looks great.
“Practice has been good. We’re progressing really well.”
The Lady Falcons picked up their only win due to a forfeit and were ousted from the postseason in the first round of the Kentucky Christian Athletic Association state tournament last year.
The good news for Coleman, though, is she has nine returning players with a year of experience under their belts.
“They’re improving every day,” said Coleman, who moved here from Seattle. “We’ve got some young players, and in a school that small, you have a wide variety of age group.”
The team boasts five seniors and one junior, but has 11 underclassmen (seventh grade through sophomores).
Coleman realizes her team might take its lumps early in the season, but hopes to be able to pick up a few wins as the season progresses.
“My goals are to just watch the girls mold into a team unit and to win. They’re learning and they’re progressing,” Coleman said.
Returning to lead the Lady Falcons in the circle is seventh-grade pitcher Kadie Kimbrough.
Kimbrough started every game as a sixth-grader and Coleman said she’ll start most of the games this season.
“She’s looking good. She’s getting back into the swing of things,” Coleman said.
Sophomore Haley Daniels and senior Georgia Galipeau could also see time in the circle, with Galipeau serving primarily as a reliever.
Daniels will play third when she isn’t pitching.
“I think that they both pitched a little bit last year, but Kadie did most of the pitching,” Coleman said. “Haley is progressing well as is Georgia.”
Junior Dawnette McNair will be back behind the plate. Senior Hannah Breeze will back her up.
“Dawnette’s very, very vocal and authoritarian. She’s got good vision and sees the field well. She directs the plays well,” Coleman said. “They’re the only ones that can see the whole field, so it’s very important. They can relay messages and keep people informed on where the plays are.”
Freshman Shamyiah McCamish returns at first base. Kimbrough will also see time there if she isn’t pitching.
“(Shamyiah’s) great. She’s got a good stretch and she goes for the ball,” Coleman said. “Very few get past her. It’s only been a couple of weeks, but she’s doing well.”
Freshman Olivia Smith will start at second base and will be backed up by seventh-grader Janey Gray.
“Olivia is very, very capable,” Coleman said. “They’re very quick, they’re very motivated. The youngness does not scare me and they don’t have a lot of bad habits I see on other teams. I’m able to progress them as one unit.”
Senior Clare Souleyrette, also a standout on the school’s volleyball team, will start at shortstop.
“I’m very impressed with her,” Coleman said. “She covers a lot of ground at shortstop.”
Freshman Lacey Lundy will start in right field. Sophomore Emily Cartwright will back her up.
“Lacey is really quick and she’s good,” Coleman said. “She’s not afraid to take a ball in the body. She doesn’t let much through.”
Sophomore Missy Jenkins and freshman Ashley Smith will split time in center.
“Missy brings a lot of energy and a lot of knowledge. She’s played the sport for quite a few years. She enjoys playing the field and she knows where the plays are,” Coleman said.
Hannah Breeze and Gray are in the running to start in left field.
“Hannah’s great. She’s very quick. She’s quick to backup and quick to move to the ball,” Coleman said.
Josh Claywell can be reached at 505-1752