Cannelton girls team features strong infield

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By Larry Goffinet

CANNELTON—With seven letter winners and two talented freshmen who have played on summer all-star and travel teams, Cannelton has one of its most experienced girls softball teams.

But the Bulldogs lack experience and depth at the position that often dominates fastpitch softball—pitcher.

Sophomore Sammie James, who was the team’s No. 2 pitcher last year, is the only one this year.

“We’re trying to develop another one,” said Cannelton Coach Brian Garrett.

 James went 0-4 for the 0-12 Bulldogs last year.

She does not throw a blazing fastball, “so the key is to throw strikes and let them hit it, and we’ll try to catch it,” said Garrett.

James will throw to Jaci Garrett, a fourth-year starter at catcher.

Freshman Taylor Lawalin will start at third base. Allicyn Garrett, Sarah Powers and Payton Reed will be the other three infielders but Garrett is not sure where each will play.

“We could play Allicyn at first, Payton at second and Sarah at shortstop. Or we could put Allicyn at short, Sarah at second, and Payton at first.”

Either way he thinks “we’re going to be solid defensively in the infield.”

He said the outfield “is a little questionable” because “we have too many kids who don’t have a lot of experience there.”

Leah Mascolo returns in center field. Shy May and Hannah Baur are slated to play the corner positions.

Garrett said the Bulldogs’ hitting “looks OK,” though he noted they have hit only off a pitching machine. “All I want to do is get timing down.”

The Bulldogs should run the bases well when they get on.

“Payton’s not too slow, Sarah’s pretty quick, and Leah’s quick,” said Garrett. “Jaci and Allicyn aren’t fast but they know how to run the bases.”

Garrett plans to bat Powers leadoff again, followed by Jaci Garrett, Allicyn Garrett, Lawalin and Reed, with the bottom part of the order yet to be decided.

With New Harmony fielding a team again after a several-year absence, Cannelton’s Class A sectional has been realigned.

The sectional, to be played at Tecumseh, has four teams: Cannelton, New Harmony, Tecumseh and New Harmony. Northeast Dubois has been moved to Springs Valley’s sectional.

Can Cannelton compete for the sectional title?

“I would like to say yeah, but realistically I don’t know,” said Garrett. “It’s hard to tell because we take infield on grass and hit only in the cage (without a suitable field, the Bulldogs will again play all their games on the road).”

To be competitive, “we’ve got to throw strikes and get the outs that are given to us,” the coach added. “We can’t let teams have six, seven or eight outs in an inning.”