Familiar name takes over Viera softball program


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A loaded lineup and excellent pitching have the Viera softball team hoping for another shot at getting to the state final four. Pictured are senior team captains Kelly Bishop, left, Madison Headley and Zoie Hatley.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

 

She was one of the first Viera High softball players to earn a Division I scholarship when she signed with South Alabama during her senior year in 2011.

Now, Alex Breeden is making history again.

The Viera alumna is the first former player to become a head coach at the school.

“I’m very humbled by it,” Breeden said. “I feel older than what I am, but it’s cool. It’s a unique experience just to give back to the school, give back to the area and give back to the game that’s done so much for me.

“I’m loving every second
of it.”

Breeden, who also teaches World History Honors and Economics Honors at the school, inherited a talented group of Hawks that have been to the Class 7A regional finals two out of the past three years.

With the pitching of Karyana Mitchell and Corrin Flajole, an offense led by Kelly Bishop, Taylor Jensen and Brianna Hatley, and a talented roster that also includes Zoie Hatley, Madison Headley, Morgan Mordas, Taryn Aebli, Kennedy Hewitt and Kelsey Reiter, Viera has a legitimate shot to get to the state final four that has eluded it so many times.

Bishop and fellow seniors Hatley and Headley are certainly determined to make that happen.

“We’re definitely motivated,” Headley said. “I feel like we’ve been doing this for four years and it’s our last year and we really want to
get there.”

The new coaching staff, the players believe, can help get them there.

“I feel like we’re being taken to a new direction this year,” Hatley said. “I’m really excited about that. They push us really hard and they hold us accountable for everything.

“They’re helping us to become great people on and off the field. They’re putting values into us for sure. I’m really excited.”

The Hawks also are enjoying a different hitting technique Breeden has introduced that figures to give them more power.

“So many girls are taught to get on top of the ball and hit ground balls,” Breeden said. “We don’t want ground balls. Ground balls are outs.

“We’re preaching launch angle. We want the ball in the air.”

Bishop, who is a big fan of the Hawks’ new home at the USSSA Space Coast Complex, believes Viera has a lot of potential.

“Everyone is really open to what they’re bringing to the table and open to new ideas,” Bishop said. “Everyone is getting better. It’s still so early, but you can see progress with everyone.

“It’s a young team — we only have three seniors — so there’s a lot of potential. Making it to states, it’s a possibility for sure, if we continue to work hard.”