Lady Statesmen grow on road

Published 9:42 am Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A growing Randolph-Henry High School’s varsity softball team with a new head coach has experienced a big win and some tough losses through the first four games of the 2017 season.

The Lady Statesmen lost their season opener 4-0 to visiting Central Lunenburg High School on March 14, but they followed this with a 22-3 road win over Bluestone High School, the alma mater of their new Head Coach Amy Hamlett.

In the Battle of the Bases at Franklin County High School on Saturday, R-H lost 15-4 to Liberty Christian Academy and 8-0 to Staunton River High School. The latter game was called early on account of darkness.

“We’re developing,” Hamlett said. “I see a lot of potential.”

Hamlett takes over leadership of the Lady Statesmen following the retirement last year of Deborah Laine, who coached softball at Randolph-Henry for 36 years.

Having served as an assistant junior varsity coach at Bluestone last year, Hamlett brings 17 years of playing experience, starting when she was 5 years old. Along with playing for the Lady Barons, travel ball and Dixie Youth softball, she also played college ball at Averett University.

She takes the reins of a Randolph-Henry program that produced a 10-10 overall record last season, 8-6 in the James River District. The season ended in the first round of the Courthouse Conference 37 tournament.

This year, seven juniors, five seniors and two freshmen populate the Lady Statesmen roster.

“I can see them going somewhere,” Hamlett said. “They’re just going to have to stick together.”

She said there are three coaches who have played in college that pitch to the girls in practice to help them develop.

“Within two practices, they were doing 10 times better in the next scrimmage,” Hamlett said. “So, I think they will be just fine this year.”

The team did suffer a blow, however, in its season opener when senior shortstop Dominique Dews went down with a fractured ankle. She is expected to be out six weeks.

“She is definitely a leader on the infield,” Hamlett said.

Another key player player Hamlett is looking to for leadership is senior starting pitcher Kimmi Horsfall.

“Whenever she’s not pitching, she’ll be in the center field, and she’s a leader out there, also,” the coach said.

Hamlett highlighted  senior Makayla Bacon as a leader due to her team-first mentality, even when she is not playing.

Up-and-comers on the team include freshman pitcher Alyssa Rapole, senior outfielder Alexis Spencer, Bacon and junior outfielder Casey Arrington.

Hamlett hopes to instill confidence in her players, helping them to avoid letting their emotions derail them in the face of difficulties.

The Lady Statesmen (1-3) host Amelia County High School on Thursday at 6 p.m.