Anyone that remembers Essex Softball Team winning the district tournament will tell you the girls were excited especially coach Milton Simmons. But like an eraser to board, Simmons is looking past that accomplishment and now ahead at this season.
“I don’t talk about it, we just play as it goes. I mean we’re good enough to finish fourth, I hope, because only
Essex’s Katie Parr and the rest of her teammates will have to listen carefully to coach Milton Simmons.
four teams will go to the tournament,” said Simmons.
Since last season, Essex has lost all district selections pitcher Brittany Jordan and outfielder Ebony Tunstall to graduation.
“We’re the same team as we were last year, we just lost the pitcher,” Simmons said. “Hopefully they can learn from last year and continue to produce.”
Katie Parr, Taylor Glass, Kaitlin Saunders, Kallie Carson, Becky Jones and Savannah Wood round out Simmons’ top returners this season.
Joining the team this year is Alexis Packett, Jamie Thompson, Tavis Hundley, Britney Owens, LaDaijra Ball, Gabby Tignor and Hannah Gross.
“The season depends on pitching, I’ve got three freshmen,” Simmons said. “Jordan pitched every game for the last three years, only one I had. Now this year I’m blessed to have three.”
One of the impacts that may hurt Essex due to the new conference changes has been less AAA and AA schools they will not play compared to in years past. In order to prepare for the new teams schools will face, Simmons said less schools have wanted to play his girls in the Single A Group.
“That hurts because I want to play good teams,” Simmons said.
For the time period Simmons has coached at Essex, he has challenged his girls by scheduling competitive AAA and AA schools before the district schedule begins in April.
As for his seven freshmen, Simmons said he plans to throw them in the fire before the district schedule begins.
“I’m playing enough teams so they will be able to get to play some,” Simmons said. “I just hope they learn a lot because some of them are going to be pretty good.”