BLUEJACKET — Developing some pitching depth has been the top priority for Bluejacket fast pitch softball coach Shawn Martin.
Senior Haven Kelly has been the Lady Chieftains’ starting pitcher the last couple of seasons, but Martin has opted to move Kelly behind the plate to shore up that position.
“She is fantastic pitcher, but she is a great catcher, too,” said Martin, who has been a high school and middle school science teacher at Bluejacket. He succeeds Jason Bates, now coaching at Welch.
“She is probably going to go to college as a catcher,” Martin said. “There are several schools looking at her. We need her behind the plate, so that’s why we’re working hard to develop some new pitchers.”
Maddie Bassett, Leah Hensey and Laura Collins have been working in the circle.
“It’s working — so far, they are doing all right. They are throwing strikes,” Martin said.
“Our defense is coming through. We’ve already turned a couple double plays. We are doing what we need to do behind the pitchers.”
The Lady Chieftains started the season 2-1.
They lost the opener to Afton 11-2 then the next day swept games with South Coffeyville, 7-2, and Ketchum, 14-11.
“My kids were so nervous. We didn’t play well,” Martin said of the loss to Afton.
Kelly and DeeDee Satterwhite are Bluejacket’s only seniors.
There also are just two juniors: Collins and Sydnee Martin.
The rest on the 13-player roster are sophomores and freshmen.
“We are a fairly young team,” Martin said.
The Lady Chieftain infield includes Hensey at first base, Taci Mitchell at second, Collins at shortstop and Shelbie Baker at third.
Satterwhite is a utility player who can fill several infield positions.
“We’re pretty tight on the infield,” Martin said.
The outfield includes Emily Chandler in left, Gracee Brewster in center and Sydnee Martin in right.
Abby Brewster provides outfield depth.
When Kelly goes in to pitch, Collins can move behind the plate.
“We have several travel-ball kids that know how to play the game well and the rest are good athletes who are just having to learn fast pitch,” Martin said.
Bluejacket was 12-18 a year ago, losing to Oaks 12-1 in the Class B district title game.
The Lady Chieftains fell to Oaks 13-12 in the first round then remained alive with a 12-0 win against Braggs in an elimination game.