Lady Cats rebuilding in 2006 softball season
Lady Cats rebuilding
in 2006 softball season
Dewain E. Peek/OCN staff
Members of the 2006 Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats softball
team are, kneeling from left, #9 Lisa Reeder, #14 Ashley Mitchell,
#8 Kirsti Dillon, #33 Jessica McDonald, standing, #18 Sarah Neff,
#10 Autumn Webb, #19 Jessica Conatser, #3 Abby Jolley, #21 Amanda
Roberts, #20 Kayla Ferrell, #88 Liz Hall, #2 Kaylie Wilson, #13
Katie Vaughn, #22 Rebecca Savage, #7 Betsy Wright, #57 Sarah Hollingsworth,
and, not pictured, Kendria Kilgore.
By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN Sports
Usually when coaches say, "This will be a rebuilding year,"
they mean they have lost two or three everyday players at key positions
and will have to groom new players for those vacancies.
But Lady Wildcats Coach Mike Johnson will truly be rebuilding his
Livingston Academy softball team this year.
"We've got to replace 6 of the 9 starters we had last year,"
Coach Johnson said.
The three everyday players returning from last year are seniors
Lisa Reeder, Jessica McDonald, and Kirstie Dillon.
"Lisa Reeder will probably still be at shortstop," Coach
Johnson said. "She's been at shortstop since she was a freshman.
"Jessica McDonald has been at second the last two years. She'll
probably stay there.
"Kirstie Dillon played first a lot last year. Depending on
who's pitching, she can play outfield or infield.
"She'll be moved around some, and she's good enough to play
pretty much anywhere. She's a pretty good athlete, real smart in
softball. She'll be either centerfield or first base."
With the graduation of starting pitchers Ashley Howard and Tara
Taylor, who will be pitching is a big question.
"We lost two really good pitchers last year," Coach Johnson
said. "This year we have two girls who are juniors - Kaylie
Wilson and Katie Vaughn. Kaylie is a little faster than Katie is,
but I think Katie has more accuracy."
Another aspect of Vaughn's game has Coach Johnson intrigued.
"Katie is a left-hander," he said. "It twists them
around. Hopefully it will mess some teams up."
The team also lost the premier catcher in the district, Stasha
Babb. The catching position will be up for grabs between two sophomores, Liz
Hall and Betsy Wright.
"Both of them have pretty good arms," Coach Johnson said.
"They're not quite as quick as Stasha was. She was really good
at when the ball got past her, she was after it. They don't have
that instinct that she did to go after the ball.
"They've both got a good chance of getting to play. Hopefully
one of them will step up and take the position.
"Third base is kind of a toss-up and our outfield - we've
got to replace the whole outfield from last year," he said.
"That's the positions that are a toss in the air.
"Right now, Amanda Roberts will probably be playing third
:"For the outfielders, a lot of them could come in and fill
it out. We'll just try out some different ones and see who does
As is normally the case with high school softball, hitting is a
"The only really good hitter we have coming back is Jessica
McDonald," Coach Johnson said. "The other girls who have
played are not quite as good. She's took a lot of hitting lessons.
She goes down to Nashville and takes hitting lessons. She's got
some power and she's good enough to hit the ball pretty well.
"That's going to be what will make or break us is hitting,
as it always is for us because they're just not used to fast-pitch
Team speed is a positive for the Lady Wildcats.
"We've got some pretty fast girls, and we picked up a couple
of them this year. Sarah Hollingsworth, she's really fast, probably
the fastest girl on the team. She'll be used as a courtesy-runner
for the catcher or pitcher," Coach Johnson said.
"We're not the fastest team, but we've been doing a lot of
running. Dusty Whitaker, the assistant coach, he's been having them
run 2 or 3 miles a day, so they're going to have some endurance.
"He's come in and helped us out to get in better shape than
we have been in the past few years. Hopefully we'll be able to win
some games just on that."
Another plus for the team is a new field house.
"We haven't given it a good name. Maybe we'll do that if we
can get a sponsorship for it,” Coach Johnson suggested.
"It's the first time we'll have public restrooms at the softball
field. They are very close to being finished. Hopefully they'll
be open for the first home game.
"It's a nice little facility," he said. "It has
a locker room. The girls get their own bathroom inside their locker
room. And it has a storage room for me to put stuff in to get us
out of that one building. Everything was kept inside the concession
stand. That should clear up some room to have a better concession
"The Board of Education has helped us out on that, and I would
like to thank them for helping us get that started and getting it
The district will also have a different look this year with the
departure of Jackson County and the addition of Macon County.
"Macon County may contend for the district championship this
year. They are a really good team,” Coach Johnson said.
Where Livingston Academy will fit into the District 7-AA picture
is anyone's guess.
"We're going to be a pretty young team. We're pretty much
even - four seniors, four juniors, five sophomores, and four freshmen
- but we lost a lot of experience from last year. There are a lot
of positions to fill.
"It will take a while to find out how good we will be."
LA's 2006 season was scheduled to begin Monday, March 13 at Clay
County. The Lady Cats will travel to Sparta to take on White County
at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 15, then they will open the home season
with a 4 p.m. game against Red Boiling Springs on Friday, March
17. The Lady Cats will travel to Monterey for a 5 p.m. game Monday,
top of page
top of page
Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570