A new coach and a bunch of new players mean an interesting year for the Lady Tigers softball team. Lee Dishman takes over head coaching duties from longtime coach Mike Thorne, who retired at the end of last season.
Dishman says his players have adjusted well to a new way of doing things.
“It took some time for the girls to get adjusted to a new coach, and a new assistant coach,” Dishman says. “The girls responded well to our philosophy and what we believe in.
“I would summarize our philosophy as a hard-nosed, hustle-everywhere-you-go, 100%-all-the-time (attitude),” he says.
And Dishman won’t be the only one in a new role this year, because the Lady Tigers are exceptionally young. Republic graduated six seniors last year: Payton Appleberry, Brooke Dutton, Amanda Snider, Bre Hemphill, Logan Keck, and Alex Wilshire.
This year’s squad has three seniors and one junior, and the rest of the team will be underclassmen. Look for senior Stephanie Eckhoff to get the bulk of the innings on the mound as Republic’s primary pitcher.
Eckhoff says she’s enjoying her senior year under Dishman, despite the changes. And she’s glad to take a leadership role, along with other seniors, on such a young team.
“They get pushed really hard. They get treated just like they’re seniors,” Eckhoff says of the underclassmen. “They’re stepping up and doing a really good job. They play on really good travel ball teams. I think they’ll be fine.
“It’s a really big change, but I like it a lot.”
The Lady Tigers will look to improve on their 19-9 record from last year. The season gets underway at Cassville on August 22nd.