Cross, Lady Pilots hope to overcome inexperience
Just like the baseball team, the Fulton County High School Lady Pilots will also enter the 2022 season under the direction of a new head coach, Kenslie Cross. As a former player, she hopes that experience benefits her in her new role.
“I am very thankful and excited for this opportunity to coach these girls. I hope that my experience playing in the past and coaching different ages since I graduated, that I will be able to teach my skills to our girls and take them to the next level. Hopefully they are as excited as I am!” she said.
Joining Cross on the coaching staff will be Assistant Coaches Alex Barnett and Taylor Rodgers.
Coach Cross and the Lady Pilots will hope to improve on their 1-13 record during the 2021 season, with their lone win coming against rival Fulton City.
The Lady Pilots will be a relatively young team, with two eighth graders, seven freshmen, three sophomores, three juniors, and only one senior.
The roster will be comprised of nine returning players: Catarina Barnett, Arieyanna Cox, Makalyn Cranick, Kylee Hammond, Kylee Harrison, Chloe McClure, Jamie’cia McFarland, Kayleigh Perez, and McKenzie Smith.
New additions to this year’s team includes Jade Thope, Hannah Murphy, Emry Ellingburg, McKayden McClure, Diamond Mitchell, Mylie Sims, and Jamesha Brown.
When asked who she saw as someone that would take on a leadership role, Cross said,” I have a lot of young ladies that are stepping into the leadership role. We have a young team this season and each player has been working hard at practices and we have really focused on team building skills.”
“As a new coach with a young team I am excited to see who steps into leadership roles for us. I think it will be more evident after our first game,” she continued.
When asked who was the best player at key positions, she said she was impressed by how the team is pushing each other to be better, and is striving for players to be versatile and able to play multiple positions.
“The pitchers that we have are pushing each other in practice every day and both bring very different skill sets that can be assets in each game. The girls are becoming very aggressive at the plate,” Cross said.
“As for our hitting and fielders, we have a lot of young ladies that are trying new positions. I think it’s critical that many of our players can be versatile and can play multiple positions if needed. Our team is looking stronger every day after practices,” she added.
Looking at their schedule, Cross admits it will be tough and might take some time for everything to gel. “We have a lot of strong opponents. We play teams that have played together for a long time and have a lot of experience. With us being a young team and me as a new coach I am optimistic about our schedule. It may take us a few games to adjust to my coaching style and the girls playing together, but we have a goal that by mid season to have beaten some opponents,” she said.
Cross thinks one of her team’s biggest assets is their willingness to work hard and be coachable. “These ladies are willing to learn and want to learn and improve every day. Our biggest challenge is that this a rebuilding year and we are really focusing on fundamentals and pushing ourselves individually and as a team to take our program to the next level,” she said.
In terms of her goals for the 2022 season and how she and the Lady Pilots hoped to accomplish them, Cross said, “Our goal this year is to continue to grow and build a strong team. To learn and implement fundamentals into games and everyday practice. My goal for my team is learn and understand the game but also be able to have fun.”
“I want to teach these girls the tactical side of the game, but also push them to be their best selves off and on the diamond. I think if we take each day and focus on how to get better at that practice or that game and learn from mistakes that we make and adjust accordingly, we will be successful,” she said.
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