By Thomas Sellers Jr.
This week marked the beginning of the Whitney Horton Era for Millington Lady Trojans Softball.
The Lady Trojans jumped into action for the 2016 season on a new-look field, in a new league with a new skipper. Horton said with so much newness around the program, her girls should take some comfort in being the familiar faces around town.
“I’m excited and nervous at this point,” Horton said. “I’ve been on the side of being a player before starting the season. But I’ve never been on the head coaching side of it before.”
Horton arrived to the Millington Central High School campus back in the summer and started the process of meeting her players and their parents.
Her background in softball took shape for the Lincoln County Lady Falcons. Horton went on to play college softball before arriving in Millington.
She takes over the program after a 10-year run by Rick Hearn. The longtime Head Coach has been nearby helping Horton in the preseason process.
“He has been great helping me and answering any questions I had,” Horton said. “He was nearby giving me some notes.”
Hearn’s scouting report combined with Horton’s time with the Lady Trojans on the field has helped her prepare to take on Class 2A competition like Ripley, Haywood, Liberty, Jackson Central-Merry, Jackson North Side and Covington.
“I’m not worried about us hitting,” Horton said. “We’ve got some girls who can swing the sticks. We’ve got some girls built that if they swung properly on the ball, it will get out of the infield.”
The Lady Trojans’ batting order will feature bats like Jessica Trice, Angela Healy, Tazerria House and freshman Hannah Clifton.
Clifton will take on the catching duties for the Lady Trojans. Horton noted the young player is full of potential defensively and offensively.
Clifton will see pitches from three hurlers throughout the season. Returning arms will be Jessie Strickland and Olivia Ballard. Working into the rotation will be Kaylee Bone.
Horton said her pitching staff will need to throw strikes to give the defense a chance to get outs. If the ball goes into play, Horton said Trice plays dependable first base.
Other infielders like House at third will need to make the correct play in a timely fashion.
In the outfield, Horton hopes to work Marquisha Sanders in the mix. The ideal spot for the athletic speedster is centerfield.