by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi
The Lancaster High School varsity softball team is under new leadership with coach Doug French and assistant MacKenzie Dameron bringing years of coaching and playing experience to their positions.
French is the new JROTC instructor at Lancaster High School and comes to LHS from Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, where he coached softball for nine years. Dameron is a former player for nearby Northumberland High School.
The two lead a young but experienced team with 10 returners from last season. However, there isn’t a senior in the bunch. Lancaster’s varsity team includes five juniors, seven sophomores and a freshman. Six of the sophomores started as freshmen for coach Wardell Carter last year. Three of the juniors started.
The newcomers—there are only three—played for Lancaster’s JV team last year.
“We’re a very young team,” said French. “And I heard coming in, ‘We can’t hit the ball. We can’t compete with the better schools.’ So we’ve got to change that mindset. They have the ability and they have to realize that. We just have to grow together as a team.”
Back to lead the pitching staff is sophomore left-hander Whitney Barrack, who when she’s not on the mound will play in the outfield. Also pitching will be junior returner Ashleigh Sanford, who will start at second base.
Sophomore returner Rachel Valdrighi will start behind the plate, while freshman newcomer Riley Molineaux will play first base. Sophomores Britney Thomas and McKenzie Hathaway return to shortstop and third base, respectively, while sophomore returner Maddie Davis is back to play center field. Also starting in the field will be junior returner Wilson Throckmorton in right field and Frannie Wilson in left field. Sophomore JV grad Randi Reed will play at both second and in the outfield and sophomore returner BreAnne Selph will snag balls. Selph was injured for much of last season and unfortunately starts this season on injured reserve.
Junior Kelsi Ashburn, also up from the JV team, will play behind the plate and junior Danielle Blake will go in at third.
The Lady Devils’ home opener against King & Queen is 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, at Dream Fields in Kilmarnock.
VARSITY SOFTBALL SCHEDULE
- March 17 at Middlesex
- March 21 King & Queen
- March 28 West Point
- March 30-April 1 Dream Fields Invitational
- April 3 at West Point
- April 7 at Rappahannock (7 p.m.)
- April 18 at Essex
- April 19 Colonial Beach
- April 21 Mathews
- April 25 at Washington & Lee
- April 28 at Northumberland (7 p.m.)
- May 2 Rappahannock (7 p.m.)
- May 4 Essex
- May 9 at Colonial Beach
- May 11 Washington & Lee
- May 12 Middlesex (7 p.m.)
- May 16 Northumberland (7 p.m.)