By Thomas Sellers Jr.
An old saying is, ‘Bad things happen in threes.’
One area softball coach who might agree with that proverb is Munford Head Coach Glenn Goulder. As the veteran Skipper enters his 32nd season with the Lady Cougars, he is searching for a few answers.
“Big question marks,” he acknowledged. “We’ve had a tremendous amount of injuries. Major players are out. Kelsey Frizzell, who signed with Memphis, had shoulder surgery. She’s probably out for the year.
“We had Makayla Faulk who was a major contributor last year move back to Bolivar,” Goulder continued. “We had Kayla Reed have an operation to where they took a rib out and muscle tissue out. She’s trying to come back, but hasn’t been able to yet. We have high hopes for her. It’s going to be some question marks.”
Reed, a sophomore, was going to be a focal point in the Munford pitching rotation and batting order. She will be limited in the beginning of the season coming off surgery.
Frizzell’s absence is a big blow to the middle of the infield defense and top of the lineup. Her leadership will still flow in the dugout, but now Goulder has to find a new bat at leadoff.
“ Last year we hit the ball pretty well,” Goulder said. “We hit .375 as a team. Even though, we didn’t hit well in the district tournament. But I would have to say right now offense might be head of defense for us.
“If Kayla Reed can play, she’ll bat leadoff,” he added. “We’ve got a couple of Rileys with Riley Bashem freshman and Riley Wade sophomore. Ali Glover will bat third. Makayla Pugh will bat fourth. Then you mix in Mattie Rittinger, Jasmine Fiend, Vada Butler, Jay Welch and Sara Shepherd in no particular order.”
Goulder would also like to feature Reed on his pitching staff.
“We’re going to try four of them in the preseason,” he said. “Not going to say we’re going to pitch them all season long. Kayla Reed will pitch a majority of the games if her body allows her. Then you’ve got the Rileys. Brooke Angel is a part of the other three. When they find the plate, they’re pretty good.”
Goulder said defense will be pretty good with Shepherd moving to second base and one of the Rileys at shortstop. The corners are established with Butler at third and the duo of Fiend and Rittinger at first base.
The outfield has the anchor of Glover in centerfield with other notables Welch and Hope Norman seeing some action.
“We’re strong behind the plate,” Goulder added. “I feel real good about it with Makayla Pugh and just right behind here is Rittinger. I feel very good about that position.”
As the Lady Cougars make adjustments in phases in the preseason, Goulder said the new-look District 13-3A has gotten tougher. Goulder said Dyer County and Brighton are the front runners and watch out for Hardin County. But when it comes to the Munford Lady Cougars in the mix…
“I wish I knew the answer to that right now,” he concluded. “I told the kid this, ‘We want to be good by the end of April.’ If we start off stumbling a little bit. That’s OK. If we can avoid injuries and maybe we can make a run.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.