The Banks County High School Lady Leopard softball team officially kicked off its season this past Friday and faced Morgan and Hart County.
Head coach Kelby Cronic has led the team for the past two years with a state championship and two region titles under his belt.
The team does not have any seniors this year, but it is loaded with standout juniors, including Kylee Brooks, Jacy Ayers, Shelby Speed, Jodie Hood, Marysa Rylee, Lindsey Crawford, Laken Brown, Alexus Humphries, and Kynlee Griffin. These players have talent and leadership skills and have also been a part of the championship team of 2019.
The program also sees the return of assistant coach Dylan Charles, who has been with the program since the leadership of Coach Tony Bowen. Charles will bring consistency to the already strong program. In addition, Laurie Wilbur is a new addition to the coaching staff, who will step into filling Kim Carithers's role, who is now the head middle school softball coach at Stephens County Middle School.
Although the team is young, Cronic stated he will rely heavily upon his junior class to help the team regain their region title.
"The team gained a lot of maturity over the summer, and having the depth of the junior class makes our team very coachable," Cronic said. "A few freshmen have also stepped up and will see some playing time. I never have to coach effort from the girls, and it has been incredible to see them grow up on the field."
Cronic also added that this year's team is unique because they genuinely play as a family and a unit and rely upon each other on and off the field.
"We are a unified team," he said.
The team is predicted to make a strong run for the region title and be present for the state title held at Columbus in October. Cronic's message to this year's team has been to play hard, stay healthy, be unified, and have fun.
The team will face Franklin County away on August 10 and play its first home on August 11 against Commerce.
BC vs. Hart: Loss Final score 14-13.
BC vs. Morgan: Win Final score 13-14.
Cronic said of the games: “We hit the ball well in both games but we struggled defensively. In the second game, we were down 7-2 and fought back to to take the lead. But we made some errors which allowed Hart to retake the lead. The lead went back and forth but the girls never gave up and rallied back to beat Hart with a final score of 14-13.”
Cronic added that he was proud of the girls for showing determination throughout the series.