With Strong Senior Group Welch Looking For Improvement In Softball At AJA
By Billy G. Baker
Ehrhardt—Jay Welch begins his sixth season as the head softball coach at Andrew Jackson Academy with the guarded optimism of new found success a major goal.
The team is built around eight seniors that comprise a group of 10 players. “With so much senior leadership we are hoping to make some great strides in the program this year,” said Coach Welch. “One of our all-region and all-state returnees is Gabby Sease and she plays center, pitches and can play first base. She is an all-out hustler and has great knowledge of the game and she has been starting since the 8th grade.”
Sease batted over .400 and had over 30 RBI’s last year. Another key senior returner is Taylor Ward and she plays mostly shortstop and batted neat .400 last year.
Andrew Jackson is 1-0 as of March, 7 having defeated Patrick Henry 24-16. In that game Sease had five hits and outfielder Skyler Carter had two hits and outfielder Caitlin McCallister had two hits. Ace pitcher Kayla Gunnells picked up the win and she had six strike-outs in the 2.5 innings she worked. Junior Grace Sutton came in and picked up the save.
Coach Welch moves his players around from game to game but for the most part Sutton and Gunnells will share time at first when not in the circle. Senior Jordan Barnes, the fastest player on the team, starts at second and this is her third year in the program. Ward is the primary shortstop and senior Hannah Lucas is at third base for the third season.
The catcher is senior Emmy Hall starting for the fourth year. Senior Cary Herndon also sees a lot of time in the out-field.
“Our goals is to improve on last years record of 9-12 and make the state playoffs again We are in a very competitive region with teams like Holly Hill, Dorchester and Clarendon Hall but we are hoping to play them better games with our senior group this year.”
Starting on Tuesday March, 14 AJA is home against Patrick Henry and the following Thursday they are at Curtis Baptist. On Friday they play St. Johns Christian at home.
Coach Welch is assisted by Mike Hall and Gene Sease.