By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
ECRU – While they may eventually get tired of seeing each other, Shane Montgomery and his North Pontotoc High girls athletes have come together to form a potent softball team.
From August through May, Montgomery coaches several of the softball players during the slow-pitch softball and basketball seasons.
“I probably have seen these seniors grow up more than my own son,” the North Pontotoc coach said.
And its those six senior players who’ve contributed greatly to the Lady Vikings’ 18-1 (4-0 Division 1-4A) record this spring.
“These seniors have been here (for five years under Montgomery) and they know what’s expected,” Montgomery said. “It’s been fun so far.
“Probably our best quality is the leadership provided by these seniors.”
Besides providing key intangibles, the seniors make a difference in just about every facet of the game.
Take, for example, Danyel Raby. A torn ACL hasn’t seemed to slow the senior too much when looking at her numbers. She leads the team in hitting (.567 batting average with a team-high 34 hits), on-base percentage for players having at least 10 at-bats (.606) and runs with 31 in 18 games.
Raby, who sat out last year with a torn ACL, suffered the same injury again while playing basketball in January. She still played the rest of the hoops season, and will have surgery when the softball season is over, Montgomery said.
“She’s a catalyst,” Montgomery said of his center fielder. “When she gets on (base), she makes things happen and adds pressure to everything else.”
Senior Meggin Nelson (9-1, 2.13 ERA) coupled with junior Brianna Gable (9-0, 2.43 ERA) form a solid 1-2 combination on the mound, says their coach.
“They’ve been keeping us in it,” Montgomery said of the games where his team’s offense struggled.
The North Pontotoc skipper can certainly point to other players on his team that have delivered in key situations.
Freshman catcher Brittany Seale has done a good job of getting on base (.500 OBP), while sophomore Taylor Coker (.372 batting average) and senior Shanda Melton (.438) have been swinging the bat rather well, says their coach.
“It’s been a total team effort; everyone’s done their job,” Montgomery said.
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572