Frenship softball looks to advance further than last season

</p><p>Ky Rodriguez, right, catches bullpen for Kenzi Carnell</p>
 Ky Rodriguez, right, catches bullpen for Kenzi Carnell
 Heading into the beginning of the season, the Frenship softball team can match its goals with its talent.
The softball team has continued to make school history by advancing further in the playoffs than the previous year, and the Tigers look to continue that trend as they begin the season with one of their most talented teams in recent years.
“I know that this will be the best talent that we have had,” said Frenship head coach Robby Dickenson. “They are the most talented overall than any other team since I have been here and maybe since Frenship has had softball. Part of the reason this team is so talented is because they are so fast”
Defensively the Tigers’ speed will be a major factor.
Frenship’s outfield, led by Meagan Low and Hope Baker, will have the ability and speed to run down most balls hit in the air.
“We will either catch the ball, or hold the other teams to singles instead of doubles,” said Dickenson. “Defensively, our speed is going to make the difference.”
Frenship’s defense lost third basemen Sam Ortiz, catcher Holly Combs, first basemen Amanda Bermea and pitcher Bekah Piersall to graduation.
“Catcher and third base are so critical in our game,” said Dickenson. “We have some kids that we think can handle it role, but we are going to do some experimenting over there.”
Ky Rodriguez is the frontrunner at catcher. She was a utility player during last season and was able to gain playing experience.
“She was valuable to us last year, and she has been working with Amanda Parsons from LCU (Lubbock Christian University) and it has really paid off,” said Dickenson. “I can see a big difference in her catching.”
Replacing Piersall has been a little easier for Dickenson.
Piersall led the Tigers’ pitching staff with a 13-8 record and 2.16 ERA. She had 102 strikeouts in 123 innings pitched.
The Tigers look to Hope Baker and Kenzi Carnell to step in to the starting pitching role.
Baker led the team with a 1.38 ERA and Carnell had a 1.50 ERA. Both pitchers had a combined 60 strikeouts 76 innings combined.
Newcomers Ciara Rasberry and Ashton Bell also look to get innings on the mound. 
Bell has been the surprise newcomer for the Tigers.
She is only the second freshman Dickenson has started on the varsity roster at the beginning of the year in his career. The other was when he was a coach at Cohoma High School.
“I knew she was going to be good,” said Dickenson. “But starting a freshman on varsity is something I usually don’t do. She has been so phenomenal that I could not keep her down (on junior varsity). She is real versatile even though she is left handed. She can be a good catcher, but she will have an impact at pitcher as well.”
Frenship’s offense will be powered by the teams speed as well.
“We have several good slappers and a good mix of power hitters,” said Dickenson. “We should be able to mix the girls in and put up a lot of runs.”
Low  and Maddie Johnson return with the best bats from last years team. Low had a .339 batting average with three homeruns, while Johnson had a team high .447 average and four homeruns.
The Tigers were also a perfect 89-89 with stolen bases.
Frenship remains the early favorite in District 4-4A but does not take the expectations lightly.
With Abilene Cooper now in District 4-4A, the Tigers are prepared to face the added competition.
“Cooper will be a factor for every team in our district,” said Dickenson. “They are going to be a team that will win a game if you aren’t playing your best.”

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