Salem struggles in two-win year

CONYERS - Salem softball coach Stephanie Bassett didn't have the season she was hoping for in her first year at the helm of the Lady Seminoles' softball team.

Salem struggled to a 2-17 finish in 2007 and failed to qualify for the Region 8-AAAA tournament.

The Lady Seminoles were a very young team for the most part and had to chalk up most of the season to growing pains.

Salem's two wins were against Jackson County and Cedar Shoals. The Lady Seminoles beat Jackson County 9-8 and Cedar Shoals 12-10.

"Since we only had two wins, they were both pretty significant. In both of those two games, the girls played hard until the end of the game and didn't give up," Bassett said. "They stayed positive and cheered for each other. I think both of those things had a lot to do with how we were able to win the games.

"Our biggest obstacle was having a young team. Three of the nine starters were freshmen. That makes a big difference, especially when they haven't had the opportunities to play together and be familiar and comfortable with each other. We also had a young pitcher who needs more game experience to be able to perform to her greatest capability."

Despite the team's youth, Bassett praised the leadership of her seniors.

"This team had great senior leadership and seemed to have great chemistry off the field. It was my goal at the beginning of the year for everyone to keep positive

attitudes throughout the season," she said. "They were very open to suggestions and generally had great attitudes and took the change in the coaching staff very well. I looked forward to coming to practice every day. They were a great group of girls, and I was fortunate to be able to coach them. I'm excited about the returners we have coming back next year and looking forward to working with them again.

"I really appreciate the leadership the seniors provided. They had a great work ethic and were good role models for the younger girls to follow. I don't feel that our record really shows the progress the girls made this year. I expect the girls to continue working and improving in the offseason, and I really think their hard work will show next year."

Brandon Evans can be reached at brandon.evans@rockdalecitizen.com