Trojans ready for hardball

Published 8:13 pm Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Troy Trojans softball head coach Melanie Davis wants to get rid of that nasty taste in her mouth. The Trojans’ leader still thinks about the 13-inning 4-2 loss to North Texas that knocked the Trojans out of the Sun Belt Championships last season.

“It has been a long time since that 13-inning game and we really want to get back out on the field,” Davis said.

The Trojans will get that chance this weekend when they head to the UT-Chattanooga Challenge in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Trojans leave Thursday and open the season with five games in three days.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Troy returns the raining Freshman of the Year and First-Team All-Sun Belt Conference pitcher, sophomore Ashlynn Williams on the mound. Joining Williams on the Sun Belt Preseason All-Conference team will be Heidi Johnson, a two-time All-Sun Belt team player herself.

“We are looking for real big things from Ashlynn,” Davis said. “And Heidi has already been an all-conference player. So we are expecting big things from those two. And barring a catastrophe I believe we should have a lot more players on the postseason all-conference team.”

Davis said this year’s team is special.

“When I was writing a letter to all the parents I had to put in there that this team is one of the best overall teams I have had in my time here,” Davis said. “They are talented, have a great work ethic and they are all unselfish. I feel really good about this year. They have all worked really hard in the classroom and between those white lines.”

Davis said this year’s squad does not have a ton of players who will steal 50 bases, but they are improved in the speed department.

“We have more overall speed from top to bottom,” Davis said. “We will still rely on the gappers and the home run balls, but we now have more speed to use on the bases.”

That team speed may be useful when the Trojans face the five teams on the schedule who made the Women’s College World Series last year. They have games against the likes of Alabama, Florida State, Virginia Tech and UAB.

The home opener for Troy is another intriguing part of the schedule. They host Auburn Feb. 17 at the Trojan Softball Complex.

Davis said having a full coaching staff has been beneficial to the Trojan softball program. Jim Webb comes back for his second year and Davis added Sharon O’Mara this year to complete her staff.

The Trojans jump into action against Tennessee Tech in the Chattanooga Challenge Friday at 3 p.m.