Darlington High School softball
Randy Bryant begins his first year as the Lady Falcons head coach, taking over from the 14-year tenure of Tim Wiley. Bryant is no stranger to a Darlington squad that has made the playoffs every year since 2005.
State silver medalists in 2013 and last year, Darlington won it all in 2008 becoming the school’s first team state champion. However, as St. John’s High School prior to the merger to DHS, the Lady Blue Devils won state titles in 1989, 1990 and 1992.
The Lady Falcons will have a hard act to follow in 2022. They lose starting pitcher Maddie Andrews along with stellar shortstop Naya Jones, and the hitting and defense at third base from Amber Rogers. While Bryant indicates the strength of his lineup will be defense, there will be a lot of question marks surrounding his pitching staff.
Junior Katelyn Church has the inside track there due to an injury to promising freshman Brayli Weatherford. Senior Ashton Goodwin will probably be receiving from behind the dish. Two returning starters will patrol the outfield in junior Alayna Williamson in center, junior Ary McPhail in left, along with sophomore Lynsey Tiller in right.
Whitney Turner, a sophomore, will move from left to shortstop. Senior Savannah Evans will trade corners and move from first base to third. Kansas Cassidy is likely to get the nod at first. Eighth-grader Shelly Blackwell and Weatherford are contending for the remaining infield spot. Both, along with fellow eighth-grader Emily Johnson, will compete for designated hitter.
Gary Flowers will assist Bryant as the Lady Falcons look to improve on last year’s 24-6 record.
— Don Gearhart