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If you are a fan of Liberty softball, we have a good-news, bad-news item for you.
First, the bad news. Your returning All-Region III first team pitcher is out.
The good news? She’ll be back in April.
The best news? The Lady Minutemen will persevere in her absence.
Cassidy Hensley took the district by storm last season during her freshman campaign. The right-hander helped lead Liberty to a share of the Seminole District crown.
During last autumn’s volleyball season, Hensley hurt her ACL. That injury will force her out of commission for probably the first half of the regular season.
Fortunately, Jamie Bennett has stepped into the void. A natural first baseman, Bennett became the best option for pitching duties. Playing the role of good teammate, she’s accepted the challenge.
“She’s one of the hardest workers I’ve got,” said Liberty Head Coach Jeff Monroe. “She’s taking one for the team...She wants to do well.”
Certainly, the defense behind her will be key here. That defense has some new faces and some old hands.
Callie Glover makes the move from center field to shortstop, plugging in for last year’s Seminole Player of the Year, Hannah Martin, who graduated. Glover is a natural leader and an excellent athlete. She has the speed and power to bat in any spot in the order.
She’ll be joined in the middle infield by second baseman Kalyn Mehaffey, who saw limited infield duty last year but looks solid this year.
Morgan Wood shifts from left field to third base. Wood is one of those year-round softballers who plays with a tenacious streak.
Samantha Baldwin, the best hitter on JV last year, will cover first base while Bennett is tending to mound duties. She can also play third and catch.
Megan Naples, a first team All-Seminole catcher last season is, of course, the first option behind the plate.
Naples, Bennett and Wood seem to be the most solid batters in the early going.
The outfield is a bit on the green side, but Monroe has confidence in the ladies. KiKi Jones should cover a lot of ground with her superb speed. Jones is also the best candidate to bat leadoff.
Stacy Campbell, who is a solid volleyball player, plugs in at left field, where she played for the JV last season.
Gabbi Spinner, who really developed over the course of last year’s basketball campaign, will cover right field.
Monroe likes what he sees so far. “This is a close-knit group that loves playing together.
“We may struggle at the start but, by the end, we’ll be good.”