Troy Ponytails ready for the long wait to end
Published 9:09 pm Thursday, June 21, 2018
After three weeks of practice, the Troy Ponytails are set to begin play in the district tournament this weekend.
Troy has been itching to get on the playing field for the last three weeks. They are going to have to wait an extra day to get started after drawing the first-round bye. They will play the winner of Enterprise and Zion Chapel on Saturday morning.
“It’s more about how the bracket works,” said coach Terry Garrett. “By getting the bye, we are going to have to play an extra game in the winner’s bracket. I think the bracket is kind of funny.”
The Ponytails have hit the field three days out of the week since the regular season came to a close. Each practice has lasted nearly 3 hours.
“This is a pretty good group of girls,” Garrett said. “We have decent pitching. This team has pretty good power with the bats and has the decent speed. I am very optimistic of what these girls can do. We have to get them to play loose and I think they will do fine.”
The players spent the regular season playing two to three games a week with little practice time. They quickly had to transition to just the opposite.
“We gave them a hard time during the first couple of weeks,” Garrett said. “We have laid off a lot this week and let them relax. We worked extremely hard on our fielding.”
Fielding is key for the Ponytails. During the season, many of the players spent time playing a key position of shortstop. In an all-star setting, many players are forced to learn new positions such as the outfield.
“They have been doing really well,” Garrett said. “I think they have looked really good in the field. They have concentrated more on that than we have hitting.”
Troy will have two 11-year-olds in Kylan Wilkerson and Madison Allen and one 12-year-old in Molly Garrett pitch this summer.
“Molly has more experience,” Garrett said. “She probably throws harder and has more consistency, but Kylan is very good too. Madison is right behind them; she just doesn’t throw quite as hard as them. For 11-year-olds they are doing very well.”
Although throwing strikes is important, Garrett believes at this age level, you have to be able to throw with some velocity as well.
“The further you get into tournament, you need to have that dominant pitcher that can strike them out,” Garrett said.
Troy has speed throughout their lineup and Garrett will try to get a few of his players to utilize the slap hit.
“We have a couple girls that are working on slapping,” Garrett said. “We have two girls that are extremely fast and we are planning on utilizing their speed with bunts. We don’ t have any lefties on our team, so we are trying to mix up our batting order a little bit.”
Wilkerson and Garrett will be relied on to supply the power for Troy. Mikalah Griffin and Jaiden Ward are two other players that should supply some extra power.
“We are going to use what I have,” Garrett said. “If you have speed, we are going to use that. If you are a little slow, I am going to work with you on hitting it to the fence.”
If Troy were to play Enterprise on Saturday morning, it would be a rematch from when the two teams met in the warmup tournament. Troy won that game 6-4.
Along with Garrett, the Ponytails will be coached by Jonathan Earles and James Allen. The players include Madison Allen, Molly Garrett, Mikalah Griffin, Alyssa Hiersche, Auriel Moultry, Maison Picton, Alyssa Sellers, Tera Walker, Jaiden Ward, Zoe Warren, Mary Hayden West and Kylan Wilkerson.