By Gene Phelps
ENTERPRISE – West Union lost in the state finals in 2011 and last year in fast pitch softball.
Three players – all seniors – who have been a part of those two teams, return for one last opportunity to bring home a state championship trophy.
“The three seniors coming back are the team leaders,” Lady Eagles coach Lisa Bogue said. “We would love to survive, advance and go back (to Ridgeland).”
The seniors returning from last season’s team that lost in the 1A finals to Nanih Waiya are catcher Bailey Bogue (.469 batting average, 29 RBI), the coach’s daughter; first baseman Julianna Garner (.460 avg.) and pitcher Brittany Taylor (18-3, 0.85 ERA).
“Bailey’s vocal, she doesn’t mind getting bossy,” Bogue said. “She does a really good job working with the pitcher.”
Garner not only produces with the bat, but is one of the team’s best defenders.
“She’s unbelievable on defense,” Bogue said. “She’s made so many saves at first. She’s spoiled us. She’s like ‘You get it close and I got your back.’’’
Taylor returns for her second season as a starter in the circle.
“The thing about her is she doesn’t dwell on a pitch that doesn’t get called or a ball dropped in the outfield,” Bogue said. “She’s strong mentally. She’s also got quite an arsenal with a fastball, change-up, curve and screwball. She also has a rise and a drop.”
West Union lost three starters from a team that defeated power Smithville in last season’s state semifinals.
“Early in the season we’re going to switch some players around, get things nailed down,” Bogue said. “My players are used to me shifting them around. I want them all to get some time playing different positions. That way if somebody gets hurt they’re not freaking out about playing a new position.”
Bogue says the series win against Smithville was huge for her program. “It let us know that we’re a solid team,” she said.