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Weston Jones and Neil Sanders both played baseball at Taylor County High School.
They both also played some collegiate baseball at St. Catharine and Campbellsville University, respectively.
They also both have been assistant softball coaches.
And, in the next week or so, they both will begin their head softball coaching careers at Campbellsville and Taylor County High School, respectively.
Jones is the fourth head coach for the Lady Eagles, following Marion Hall, Steve Skaggs and Dale Estes, who Jones assisted last year.
Sanders, the son of Campbellsville University head baseball coach Beauford Sanders, is the eighth head coach of the Lady Cardinals. He follows Steve Clark, Darryl Atwell, Donna Owens, Rongie Dicken, Ronnie Gupton, Kelly Townsend (who Sanders assisted) and Mike Pollock.
Q and A about Lady Eagles’ softball
You’ve been an assistant before, but how different will it be this season being the head coach? “From the coaching aspect it will not be much different. As a head coach and as an assistant my goal has always been to coach to each player’s strengths/weaknesses and try to help the players improve in all areas of the game.
“As a head coach there are many more demands outside of the lines, including paperwork, scheduling, etc.”
Are there similarities between fast-pitch softball and baseball that you’ve played all your life? “Yes the game is very similar to baseball. The team that hits, fields and pitches the best usually wins the game.
“There are some differences in fundamentals being taught (example; pitching), but for the most part the game is very similar to baseball.”
What are the main differences between baseball and softball? “Softball is a game that is played at a very fast and up-tempo pace.
“One of the major differences in the two is the effectiveness of the small ball game in softball vs. baseball. In softball the frequency of slapping and bunting far outweigh the frequency of this seen in the game of baseball.”
How much difference is there in coaching girls as opposed to boys? “I believe whether coaching girls or boys it is vital that a good coach knows the personality of their team.
“It is important to know what motivates your players and helps them perform to their maximum potential on the field.”
What does your team need to improve on before the post-season? “Our team is very young in many positions. It is important that our girls get as many reps and game-experience opportunities as possible before post-season begins.”
What do you think are your team’s strengths? “Although we are a very young team, I believe that this is one of my team’s strengths as well.
“I have a team full of young, energetic girls that are eager to learn about the game of softball. I have a group of girls that are coachable and want to get better on the field.”
Who is favored in your district? “I would have to say Marion and Taylor County are the early season favorites in our district.”
Who will be the best teams in the region? “Central Hardin, Green County, Marion County and Taylor County.”
— Bobby Brockman
Lady Eagles’ tentative batting order
1 Cassie Squires, 2B
2 Kailey Morris, SS
3 Paige Dabney, P
4 Brenna Wethington, 3B
5 Masi Wilson, 1B
6 Kenzie Murrell, LF
7 Graison Biggs, CF
8 Heather Bailey, C
9 Kathryn Doss, DP
Lily Delgado, FLEX- RF
Q and A about Lady Cards’ softball
You’ve been an assistant before, but how different will it be this season being the head coach? “A lot different, first and foremost, all the sudden everything is your responsibility and duty rather than just helping or assisting.
There’s no pressure in my opinion, it’s still a game. Developing hard work (habits) and creating a positive environment for my players will be my focus. For the coaching aspect, nothing is different. My style, philosophy, and approach will always stay the same in any aspect of coaching.”
Are there similarities between fast-pitch softball and baseball that you’ve played all your life? “Yes and No. Similarities include winning teams still win the same way (solid defense, good pitching, etc.), and fundamentals remain the same.
“Differences include the game is much faster on the infield and there’s even more emphasis on ‘small ball’. Dominate Pitching is a much bigger factor and some minor details that are different are cut-offs/bunt coverages, etc.”
What are the main differences between baseball and softball? “The speed of the game and the emphasis on ‘small ball’ is much greater in softball.”
How much difference is there in coaching girls as opposed to boys? “A lot! Girls are just as competitive as boys once the ball is rolled out. However, girls need much more positive reinforcement and confidence boosting than do boys. Also, girls are motivated much differently than boys. I enjoy coaching both.”
What does your team need to improve on before the post-season? “Mental toughness and developing a Team First attitude.”
What do you think are your team’s strengths? “Pitching comes to mind first. We return all three pitchers from last season.”
Who is favored in your district? “Marion County. I don’t think you can argue this. They are defending champions with an above average pitcher who returns this season.”
Who will be the best teams in the region? “I think leading the pack will be Central Hardin and Green County as they have two great programs really peaking right now (both state ranked teams last season) and I would throw Marion County in as well with their pitcher returning this season who is really tough.
“Where we fall will depend on a lot. We can go as far as our character will allow.”
— Bobby Brockman
Lady Cardinals’ tentative starting line-up
P Karissa Mings
C Cheyenne Moran
1B Shelby Carney
2B Shelby Johnson
3B Brenna Beams
SS Haley Wright
LF Haley Franklin
CF Hannah Howard
RF Becca Orberson
DP Haley Moss