The Bulloch Academy softball team is coming off a couple of pretty successful seasons. Two years ago the Gators advanced to the state championship game before falling in the final series to Westfield. Last season the Gators won the region title for the first time in four years.
This time around, the Gators will be without five seniors who helped them get back to being one of the top programs in the state and will also break in first year head coach Nikki Perkins as former coach Kyle Chambers has left to take over the reins at Brookwood High School.
“It’s great to finally get on the field and see what kind of team we have,” Perkins said. “We have had to deal with a few safety concerns with Covid-19, but our main concern has been to get these girls in condition, in order to be prepared for the upcoming season.”
The Gators numbers are down a bit, as they currently have 13 girls on the team. Perins is also having to fill the shoes left by graduation which includes a number of long time starters including an All-State battery of catcher Regan Ellis and pitcher Baylee Roberts.
“Obviously our biggest concern is trying to find a pitcher,” Perkins said. “Baylee has done such a great job, and will be difficult to replace. We are currently working with a number of girls who have worked hard in the off season. Senior Tanner Kaiser, sophomore Caroline Baird and eighth grader McKenna Furnair have all shown some promise on the mound.”
Perkins has really tried to get to know her new team by trying a variety of bonding exercises. She has also been thankful for some of the seniors who have stepped up.
“I will be counting on some of these seniors to help out this year,” Perkins said. “The returning juniors and seniors know what it takes to get to the playoffs, and we expect to be back again this year. I have really appreciated the work put in particularly by seniors Tanner Kaiser, Leah Williford and Liv Finley.”
As far as Perkins’ coaching philosophy, she says she can adapt to whatever she feels the strengths of the team are, and currently she likes what she has seen.
“We will definitely be incorporating some small ball this year,” Perkins said. “We are a quick team, so I feel like that is something we can use to our advantage. We have been working on some kids with slapping, and we also have a few players with some power as well. I feel like we are pretty versatile and that will help us play a variety of styles.”
The Gators have no scrimmage games scheduled due to COVID-19. Bulloch Academy will open the 2020 season at the Warrior Blast Tournament in Reidsville Aug. 7-8.