The motto adopted by the Thompson High softball team is hardly unique but undoubtedly appropriate.
Kevin Todd’s Thompson team had one of the better teams in AHSAA Class 7A last season but the youthful Warriors didn’t advance past a tough area. This season, the Warriors, who are a year more seasoned, have the talent to make the motto reality.
“I told them the other day, it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Todd said. “Hopefully, this year, we can win the marathon, not just win the 100 meter. We got a chance. I want our girls to feel the confidence.”
Pick a spot – any spot – and the Warriors have talent.
“My position players, we stack up with anyone,” Todd said.
It begins with an infield that includes three returning All-Shelby County performers and a promising youngster. Shortstop Lauren Haskins and second baseman Allie Miller, a Troy commitment, who played at Chelsea High last year, form one of the best middle infield duos in the state. Haskins hit .588 with 14 home runs, 55 RBI, 80 hits and 31 steals last season. Miller hit .458 with 68 hits. The other all-county returnee is third baseman Kennedy Foote, who hit .463 with 43 RBI as a freshman.
Sophomore Abby Kellogg, a role player as a freshman, takes over at first base.
“Defensively, she’s very good,” Todd said. “In the summer, she really took strides in her hitting, she’s got a chance to really help us.”
Juniors Mikayla Tuohey and Kindall DeRamus anchor the outfield. DeRamus, an all-county selection last season, is one of the top defensive outfielders in the state. The UAB commitment also hit .490 with 72 hits and 25 RBI. Tuohey, also a volleyball standout, is a versatile athlete, who will also help out in the pitching circle. The other outfield starter is expected to be junior Madison Plunkett, who pitched and played second base last season.
“She’s a utility type kid, who can run (and) hit,” Todd said of Plunkett. “She can play anywhere in the field, to be honest with you. With Allie and Lauren here, she’s going to the outfield and be a starter there.”
The team’s top pitcher, once again, is Bailey Whitfield, a Faulkner University signee. This season, though, she’ll have more help in the pitching circle.
“Last year, we got by with pretty much one pitcher (Whitfield),” Todd said. “This year, we should have some more arms to help out. (Whitfield) threw 30 something games for us. She was all-county as a pitcher. Experience is there with her. The rest of our staff is inexperienced. If that comes through, we have a chance to be pretty decent.”
Freshman Madison Holtzapfel actually has a sprinkling of varsity experience. She pitched in a handful of varsity games last season as an eighth grader. Touhey is also an option at pitcher this season.
“(Touhey) hasn’t pitched since eighth grade,” Todd said. “She was our starting leftfielder last year and will be this year too. She’s a great athlete. She’s 5-10 and throws it pretty well. She’ll help us out if she can stay healthy.”
Madison Bubel, another all-county member, returns at catcher. She hit .455 with 39 RBI last season.
“She’s a powerful young lady, she swings a heavy bat,” Todd said. “She has a great arm and has really stepped it up in her work ethic over the past year and bought in to what it takes to catch every game. She started out last year, the first 10 games, had five home runs and she ended up with five home runs. It’s just the wear and tear of a catcher, is hard.”
Sophomore Lauren Cabiness will share time with Bubel, which will help both stay fresh.
Mix all that together and the Warriors have to pieces for this to be a special season.