BY WIL CREWS
Past the midway point in the season, the Beauregard varsity softball team is ready to leave distractions in the past.
“Coming off spring break, it’s always tough when they get some time off,” said Head Coach Scott Meadows. “Then you had prom last week, and a lot of times the focus is not where it needs to be coming off things like that. But hopefully now we can be focused through the rest of the season and not have any distractions and maybe give it a shot.”
The Hornets currently boast a near .500 record, and with the postseason area tournament beginning in early May, Meadows is pushing his girls to hit the benchmarks set at the start of the season.
“Our team knows, for us to be competitive against better teams we are going to have to hit and play solid defense,” Meadows said. “We don’t have that one pitcher who is going to shut people down. We have got to be good all-around to compete.”
Area foes Tallassee and Brewbaker Tech always pose a challenge, but Meadows takes encouragement from the fact that this year’s team reminds him of one who achieved success in the past.
“Brew Tech and Tallassee are the two teams to beat,” he said. “We knew that coming into the year. We have to be at our best to compete with those two. But, we were in the same boat a few years ago — didn’t beat Tallassee or Brew tech in the regular season. Then we got in the area tournament and made it to the regionals.”
A few players who have set the standard at the plate for Beauregard this season are eighth grader Raegan Brooks, 10th grade shortstop Cooper Watson and junior catcher Caroline Willis. Brooks, who pitches and mostly plays designated hitter, is leading the team with a .755 slugging percentage, and is second in the lineup with a batting average of .429. Watson is the batting average leader, hitting .460 on the year, accompanied by with a .607 on base percentage. Willis is hitting .407 on the season, with an on base percentage of .550. The sure-handed signal caller behind the plate recently hit a walk-off homerun against the Smiths Station Panthers, too. Meadows looks to their performances to spur the rest of his team higher peaks.
“If we can just get two or three others in the lineup to get those averages up … all of them have on base percentage that is going to meet our goals, but you can’t rely on walks and errors,” he said.
Meadows has talked to this year’s team a lot about leadership, he said, and emphasized how it’s not one person’s job to take on that role.
“You don’t have to be a three or four year to be a leader,” he said. “You can say all you want to say, but people are only going to follow you if they see what you are doing. So we want them to lead by example. It still may not change anything, but at least you have earned the right to say something.”
Meadows will be looking for some of that leadership when the Hornet’s host a tournament this weekend, with the potential to face the likes of Tallassee, Wetumpka, Beulah, Smiths Station and others. One of the main thing he wants to see on the field, however, is improvement on defense.
“Defensively is probably where I’m most disappointed,” he said. “If we make errors in the outfield, most of the time it’s on the throw. Hopefully we are getting more comfortable and playing more solid.”
Recent practices have turned a corner, Meadows said, and he hopes that leads to continued success in the coming weeks.
I’m excited by our [recent] practice, the energy and effort we have had,” he said. “I just want to see that carry over to the games. All of them are going to have to buy-in. “