The New Brockton Lady Gamecocks come into 2020 with one of the school’s deepest softball programs in recent memory and with that depth comes lofty expectations.
According to New Brockton softball coach Wade Hussey, his team’s goal is very simple.
“I think everybody wants to win their area and go to state,” Hussey said. “Our goal is to make it state. That’s a huge goal but it’s an attainable one. I’m very excited about where we are.”
Hussey’s excitement begins with his new assistant coaches, which include his daughter, Troy catcher Kaylee Hussey. Kaylee Hussey – an Enterprise graduate – was a three-year starter at catcher for Troy and brings her expertise behind the plate – as both a hitter and catcher – to the Lady Gamecocks.
“She will be big there for us, coaching the catchers, and she can really, really help out with hitting, too,” Wade Hussey said.
Joining the two Hussey’s on the coaching staff will be former Kinston standout Chelbie (Fuller) Mobley.
“She was a big time player over there and a dominant pitcher,” Wade Hussey said. “She brings that understanding of pitching here and she’s already made her mark on the team. I think our versatility on the coaching staff adds so much depth to our team.”
Wade Hussey also pointed to pitching as being a big boost for the Lady Gamecocks this season.
“We finally have some depth there,” he said. “Bailey Blackmon is back as a junior and we really rode her the past two years and even with an injury last year she won us a bunch of games.
“Shelby Hobbs and McKenlie Jerkins will really add to our depth there. McKenlie can really control the game with her pitching and Shelby didn’t pitch last year, but she’s really improved there.”
The Lady Gamecocks were extremely young last season but Wade Hussey believes that experience can only help his team.
“We started a bunch of seventh and eighth graders last year, so I think we’ll be a lot more consistent this year,” he said. “We have a bunch of eighth and ninth graders this season that have started or played in 20 games or more. There is leadership there, even with how young we are.”
Joining the young players are seniors Paula McKenna, Lacey Sprinkle and Mary Beth Smith as leaders on the team. McKenna and Smith were leaders on the 2019 team but Sprinkle is returning from an ACL injury that kept her out last season.
“She’s a strong kid and is really hitting the ball well,” Wade Hussey said of Sprinkle. “I think she’s going to be an impact player for us.”
The biggest thing that the Lady Gamecocks have to work on going into the season is the little things. Wade Hussey said that his team wears cardinal or black shirts to practice every day, and it changes depending on the day of the week. It’s about making sure that the team is accountable for even the smallest details, like what color shirt to wear to practice, that is important, according to Wade Hussey.
“It’s all about the fact of ‘I control me’ and that we have to be accountable for doing all of those small things right if we’re going to get where we want to be,” he emphasized. “We also have to be 100 percent of ourselves. A lot of times players will give 70 percent of what they have because that 70 percent is more than the person standing next to them.
“If you’re not giving everything you’re capable of then it hurts you and the team in the long run.”