With a wealth of talent returning, Navarre High School softball coach Scott Murphy is looking forward to the upcoming season. The Lady Raiders have nine returning players and will be considered to be one of the favorites to compete for a district title.
Softball success depends largely on successful pitching and the Raiders have three strong returning hurlers. The staff is led by junior Allison “Cat” Pettigrew, considered to be one of the best in Northwest Florida. In 2012 her record was 15-4.
“Allison has a strong arm and throws very hard,” Murphy said. “She has a variety of pitches.”
Pettigrew is also a key offensive player, hitting .351 with four homeruns in 2012.
Audrey Thomas, a senior, won three games in 2012 before an injury sidelined her for most of the season. She is now 100-percent healthy and is expected to make a major contribution.
After Thomas was injured last year, Kassidy Griffin stepped up to fill the relief pitcher’s role, winning four games in her freshman year. She is currently rehabbing a leg injury, but is expected to be back and ready for action soon.
Good pitching becomes average if the team doesn’t have a good catcher. Junior Jenna Bobbitt is one of best defensive catchers in the area. She has a strong throwing arm and good blocking skills. In 2012 she hit .375 with 27 hits, five doubles, five triples and 16 RBI.
Senior Brooke Murphy – Scott’s daughter – is a quiet leader on the field. She returns to first base where she led the team in hits (31), RBI (22) and batting average (.403). Murphy has a good glove and reacts quickly to hard throws from close range, the coach said.
Last year, the left side of the infield consisted of freshmen Sara Wilson and Kamber Anderson. Now, after a year of playing on the varsity, they are more than ready to make their marks. Wilson plays third base and hit .236 with 13 RBI last year. She has very good defensive skills. Anderson, the slick-fielding shortstop, hit .253 with 20 hits and seven RBI in 2012. She has a penchant for getting on base and scored 19 runs last year.
Patrolling center field is sophomore Shana Pearl. Another sensational freshman in 2012, she has excellent defensive instincts. Base runners are well aware of her arm and will not even attempt to take an extra base. In 2012 she hit .329 with 27 hits and scored 28 runs.
Senior Allison Bacon will play left field. A strong defensive player and hard worker, the Raiders are counting on her to help them offensively this year.
Freshman Callan Taylor is trying to lock down a spot at second base. Murphy has been impressed with her range and defense.
Although she played shortstop on the junior varsity team, junior Crystal Evans is the probable starter in right field. She has a good arm and is a solid defender.
Senior Diana Marimla is playing her first year in the program. She will fight for time in the outfield.
Junior Shelby Kesinger is currently a player on the basketball team. She will join the team when the basketball season is completed and vie for playing time in the outfield. She has very good defensive instincts, Murphy said.
The Lady Raiders easily won preseason games against Gulf Breeze and Milton last week and were scheduled to play at Choctawhatchee High in Fort Walton Beach on Tuesday. Navarre’s varsity is scheduled to play at Washington at 6 p.m. tonight and to host Pensacola at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12.