Maddy Collier of Triad warms up inside the circle during a recent game against Fairbanks. The Lady Cardinals are leaning heavily on the senior arm to help the young team.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
The 2018 Lady Cardinals of Triad are looking to fill the shoes of some key losses as the season progresses.
The Lady Cardinals (1-4 on the young season) brought home a 10-3 Ohio Heritage Conference record last year.
They will have to rebound from their slow start while fielding only one team.
There is no junior varsity squad this spring, as having only 20 athletes did not permit a split for two squads.
All 20 are on the varsity roster and head coach Shari Dixon’s main goal early in the campaign has been to get her younger players up to speed.
“We are very inexperienced as far as positions on the infield,” she said. “We lost key players (Madison Dolby and Ali Dixon) from last year and have been working hard at filling those positions.”
Dixon is learning on her returning letter winners, who include Maddy Collier, Brianna Eaton, Makenzie Cauley, Shelby Sheets, Gracie Sheets, Kendall Hughes and Olivia Butz.
Collier is the Lady Cards’ top pitcher, coming off a 2017 season in which she posted a 2.89 ERA and earned OHC honorable mention accolades.
Eaton is one of the Cardinals’ top returning hitters as she batted .329.
Letterman Kaitlynn Pence has been injured early in her senior season, which has further stretched Triad’s veteran depth.
“In order for us to be successful, we have to get healthy,” Dixon said. “We have been faced with key injuries to start this season.”
Although Triad has a large roster, the bulk of it is filled with youth. The Lady Cards will have nine sophomores, three freshmen and eight upper classmen. With the majority of the roster underclassmen, Dixon says there is a lot of learning to be done as the season progresses.
“We have a lot of learning to do but with the right mindset, we will be able to overcome these challenges,” she said.
Although the Lady Cardinals are going through what could be described as a rebuilding year, Dixon said they have to be ready for what the remaining OHC games will throw their way.
“Our league is very strong,” she said. “We will face tough pitching and we have to be ready for whatever we see.”
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