Tigers believe they can surprise people once again
Senior pitcher Allison Roach has a devastating drop ball that can make her a tough pitcher to hit against.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
Last year was a historic season for the Holy Trinity softball team.
And as far as coach John Clarson is concerned, there isn’t any reason to think the Tigers aren’t capable of doing something special again.
“I think we’re going to be as strong as we were last year, maybe even stronger,” he said.
After a solid regular season, last year’s team knocked off No. 1 seed Cocoa Beach in the semifinals to reach its first district championship game since 2003.
While the Tigers graduated a big bat in Talia Douglas — a star player since the seventh-grade — they picked up two new players who have star potential themselves.
Junior catcher Olivia Nimmo, a transfer from Viera High, hit a double in her first at-bat for the Tigers in a preseason classic game. Clarson described seventh grade middle infielder Nadia English as a natural athlete who learns quickly and already possesses an advanced set of skills.
Add those two to experienced returners such as Allison Roach, Lisa Bain, Claire Jackering, Ally Turner, Shea Dimmer, Isabella Tomasura and Sarah Kimmerling and it’s easy to see why there is so much optimism around the program coming off of last year’s success.
“It gives us more expectations,” Roach said. “In previous years, teams thought of us as, ‘Oh, it’s just a practice game.’
“Now, we have a bunch of players and we’ve developed really well. We’re actually a name out there and people know who we are.”
One aspect that should benefit the Tigers greatly this season is the versatility of the players to play multiple positions, allowing Clarson to stack his lineup a number of different ways to keep core players on the field at all times.
Roach, one of only two seniors on the team (Bailey Vickers is the other), gives the Tigers a solid pitcher on the mound with Dimmer — a freshman — getting plenty of mound time as well.
“Allison is what I call a finesse pitcher,” Clarson said. “She can control the strike zone, move the ball up and down and has good off-speed pitches.
“Her drop ball is phenomenal. When I watch the batters swing, they’re usually missing by a foot or more when her ball is working.”
If the Tigers can have another strong season on defense and get some clutch hitting in some big spots, they could very well make a name for themselves once again.
“I think we can surprise some more people again this year,” Clarson said.
If they do, the Tigers might have a shot to get back to the postseason. And after last season, that’s exactly what’s on their minds.
“It definitely gives us more confidence in what we can accomplish,” Bain said.