Cleveland has a young softball team with just three seniors and one junior on its roster. There are six freshmen and the rest are sophomores.
And they are not just there for bench time. Five of the freshmen start.
“We have a variety of different players from the quick to the powerful,” coach James Morris said. “The future is looking very bright for us.”
Morris has brought this young team along like he has teams in the past – by playing a tough early schedule that will help get them ready for the conference schedule. The Rams (9-2, 2-0 Two Rivers 3A) have played eight 4A teams in their nonconference schedule.
“We want the best competition we can find,” Morris said. “We just want to be as prepared as we can.”
Freshman Camryn Barbour and sophomore Kayla Womack are among the team’s best hitters. Sophomore Anna Kate Gilchrist is one of two pitchers the Rams rotate.
While it is rare to have such a large portion of a team be composed of players with such little high school playing experience, coach Morris is sure that his players can handle it.
“A lot of these girls are in elite programs so they see quality pitching weekend after weekend,” said Morris. “This is just another ball game to them.”
Evidence of that was shown in a March 8 loss to West Johnston. Cleveland was down 3-0 and had freshman Caris Allen pinch hitting. Allen cleared the bases with a double to tie the game, though West answered to win 5-3.
“She didn’t know she was supposed to be nervous, I guess,” Morris said.