Hope Springs Eternal for Lady Knights Softball

Asena Acar Staff Writer

There’s always room for improvement right? That is exactly what the Montgomery College softball team and Coach Jerry Watkins are hoping for this season as they begin finalizing the team and preparing for the upcoming season.

According to Watkins, who has been coaching softball at MC for four years, last season was “disappointing,” and could have been better. Last season’s team was short on players, and there were plenty of injuries. The team ended the spring season with several disappointing losses, and the players and staff hope to improve this season with all of the new experienced and talented players.

The biggest difference between last season’s team and this season’s team is the amount of experience. According to Watkins, this is the first year, since he has been here, that MC has a full team of experienced softball players; every player has played before. “[The team] ranges from top high school competitors like [freshman] Julie [Hance] to girls who have played up until they were 14, 16 years old, and getting back into it, but they’ve all got experience,” said Watkins.

In addition to experienced players, the softball team has a very experienced coach. Although he has only coached MC softball for four years, Watkins has been involved in softball and baseball for most of his life. “For 30 years, I’ve been involved in baseball and softball with [an] amateur softball association, the [United States Specialty Sports Association]… I played baseball [as a catcher], and [I’ve] been coaching softball for the last 15 years,” said Watkins.

One player with plenty of softball experience is sophomore Tori Kenno. Kenno is a returning player from last year who has been playing softball for 12 years. Kenno officially plays center field, but, “[Coach Watkins] has me playing like all over the place. Wherever needs me, I’m going, except pitcher,” said Kenno.

Watkins and his staff have worked hard to recruit players from high schools and travel teams. In the end, however, the goal is to play hard and win. “We all have the same goal: to win,” said Kenno.

One more factor that could add to the improvement of the team is fan support. According to Watkins, the games are lacking spectators. “I would like to see more people out to see the games… We’ve been working really hard for four years to get the word out that we’re here to the high schools and travels teams to get players here, so now we need to get spectators out,” said Watkins. The Lady Knights play their first game is on March 7 against the defending regional champions, the Anne Arundel Pioneers.