ROCKET SOFTBALL TEAM HAS PITCHING ACE, OFFENSIVE FIREPOWER AND EXPERIENCE

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Olivia Garman pitches in last week’s scrimmage against James River. Photo by Jim Devinney

The Craig County softball team has all the components to have a very good season. The Rockets have most of the starters back last year’s team and they’ve looked good in preseason scrimmages.


“We should be pretty good,” said coach Trent Lipes. “We have solid pitching, a good defense and we should be better at the plate.”

Pitching is always the heart of a good fastpitch softball team, and Craig has a good one. Senior Olivia Garman is back for her fourth year on the mound and she’s an ace. She had an outstanding season in 2016 and she should be even better.

“Absolutely,” said Lipes. “She’s worked hard on her rise ball over the winter. She has a pitching coach and her location is better. I’m looking for her to have a big year.”

Garman is also a strong hitter. She tied returning firstbaseman Tierrney Zysk with five home runs each last year, and they should be battling for the team lead again. Zysk has been ripping the cover off the ball in the preseason.

Garman is also a strong hitter. She tied returning firstbaseman Tierrney Zysk with five home runs each last year, and they should be battling for the team lead again. Zysk has been ripping the cover off the ball in the preseason.

“Tierrney is really hitting the ball well,” said Lipes. “She could lead the entire Roanoke Valley in home runs.”

Craig has a solid infield with Zysk at first, senior Savannah Looney, a speedy leadoff hitter, returning at second and sophomore Kaylee Pauley moving from third to short to replace Grace Faw, the only infielder lost from last year. Sophomore Keiley Dudding moves in at third, and she’s a solid replacement.

Dudding and Pauley will also be the back up pitchers. They don’t throw as hard at Garman, but they can throw strikes and Craig’s defense should be up to the task.

Catchers will be sophomore Mackenzie Hutchinson and senior Hannah Lipes. Trent is hoping Mackenzie can hold down that job as Hannah is a valuable centerfielder. Senior Shaleigh Mayo will be in left and senior Olivia Menezes will be in right.

Rounding out the roster will be junior Eva Myers, sophomore Lacey Smith and freshman Maddy Oliver. It’s a solid roster with some flexibility.

The Rockets were scheduled to open at home against Auburn on Tuesday, but a bad weather forecast had that game in jeopardy at press time. The Rockets are scheduled to play at Radford Thursday, and back home against Narrows on Monday.