Lady Eagles look to compete at top of 6th

Spring is Here -- The spring sports season started on Monday. This season North Bullitt and sophomore Gabrielle Coy are looking for more success after reaching the semifinals of the Sixth Region Tournament a year ago.

HEBRON ESTATES – The North Bullitt Lady Eagles reached the semifinals of the Sixth Region Softball Tournament last season before losing to Mercy. The team liked the experience.

The group enjoyed the experience so much, getting to play at Ulmer Stadium on the University of Louisville campus, that it wants to it again. Hey, playing two games there would be even better.

Veteran North Bullitt head coach Jason Andres feels that will six seniors leading the way, that this can be a big season for the green and gold and improve on last seasons’ 16-22 record.

“I would like to find us in the final,” the coach said before the team practice late last week. “We have a bunch of returning seniors. Six will play a vital role for us.

“I would like to get to the next stage,” Andres mentioned.

In the final week before the regular season started on Monday, Andres felt that his team performed well in scrimmages against Spencer County and Oldham County, although, there were some minor injuries in those workouts.

“We are ready and looking forward,” Andres said. “We will open with a home game as we play Butler on Monday. I’m not going to shy away from scheduling as many top-25 teams as I can.”

(That opening game was not quite what the team wanted as the Bearettes, the 2021 state champions, beat the Lady Eagles 13-1 in five innings.)

Andres is hoping that he doesn’t have to rely on one pitcher to get through all the tough outings. At the start of the season, he is looking at four pitchers to handle the important chores in the circle.

One key addition this year is senior Evie Brashear. She pitched for the team as an 8th-grader, but injuries kept her away from the diamond for the past three seasons. Now she is ready to pitch again. She has been able to play softball in the summer, but the injury bug keeps getting her in the spring.

A very experienced pitcher is senior Trinity Burton. The left-hander will be in the lineup somewhere as she has one of the best bats in the area. Another pitcher with experience is sophomore right-hander Gabrielle Coy. Andres would also like to get a few varsity innings under the belt of freshman Amree Hammons.

The coach has not completely worked out how a rotation and/or in-game changes will work.

“We’re still figuring that out,” he said. “Best case I would like to throw all four in a game.

“It will be up to them,” Andres added. “If one is outstanding then maybe they will go four, five or six innings. Then we’ll stay with them.”

There are no question marks behind the plate as junior Alla Pearce will do the catching. This is her fifth year in the program and recently she has been working with Mary Andres, the coaches’ daughter and former Lady Eagle player who is presently playing at Midway College.

If needed, the backup will be sophomore Mackenzie Phillips.

At first base, Andres is looking at having either senior Kaleigh Stinnett or Brashear at first base depending on who is pitching. Stinnett played mostly at third base last season. Also on the right side of the infield will be junior Taylor Amburgey who returns as a starter.

Depth on the right side could also come from freshman Paige Brooks.

At shortstop, there will not be a set starter as Coy will often man the spot when she is not pitching. The Lady Eagles could also use sophomore Bella Markwell or Burton at shortstop.

At third base, Brashear or Burton will get the starts based on who is pitching.

And yes, Burton is a left-hander who can play on the left side of the infield. She played those spots numerous times last season. To keep other teams honest, the Lady Eagles have changed how they cover bunts if Burton is at third.

With three of the anticipated four pitchers on the field, Andres can make quick pitching changes without making major lineup changes.

In the outfield, Andres is looking for junior Madison Nunn to man the big centerfield on the Lady Eagles’ home field. She will be flanked by junior Kalista Gritton in left, moving over from right field last year, with senior Kasey Cross playing in right.

The only outfield sub that Andres mentioned was Hammons.

Andres feels that his team can win games various ways this spring.

“I’ll be honest, I think we can win both ways,” he said of high scoring or low scoring. “I think with the pitching we have and the improved bats, I think we can win 8-0 or 3-2 type games.

“I think we’ll try to hit line drives,” the coach added. “We do have more home run types than normal. We should threaten (the long ball) one through nine.”

There are 28 girls in the program and the team will play games at all three age levels.

“We’ll dress 16 to 18 in case of injuries, but 11 or 12 will do most of the work,” the coach said.

The Lady Eagle coaching staff this season will have assistant coaches Jimmy Amburgey, Chad Laswell and Chris Ludwig.

After playing two games earlier this week, the Lady Eagles will be at home on Thursday for a game against Meade County.

The defending 23rd District champions will play Moore before spring break. The team will not go out of state for spring break but will play some games in the area. After spring break, the Lady Eagles will play at Bullitt Central on April 12 and against Southern on April 19.

The game against Bullitt East will not be played until May 12 in Mount Washington.