Depth is going to be an issue for Lincoln Trail College's softball team this season, but they are not going to let that be a deterrent or use it as an excuse.
The Lady Statesmen only have 12 healthy players on the roster this spring, but that does not mean there is a lack of talent.
"The low numbers will absolutely affect what we are trying to accomplish," LTC head coach Ashley Gordon said. "We don't have the depth that we need, but we are going to try to use that in our favor. We have some very talented kids on the team and every player will have plenty of playing time."
With the lack of depth comes stability, especially with the lineup, which Gordon hopes leads to better offensive production.
"There will not be much movement in our lineup," Gordon said. "The lack of adjustments I am hoping develops a sense of comfort within the team."
Experience is also an advantage for the Lady Statesmen, who have eight sophomores on this year's team, most of whom saw significant time last season.
"All of our returnees are going to make a major impact on the program," Gordon said.
An area with a wealth of experience is on the mound, where their top two pitchers - Keeley Hutchinson-Sanders (Lafayette, Ind.) and Kayla Downing (Greencastle, Ind.) - both return after seeing time in the circle last season.
"Keeley is more of a power pitcher from the right side and Kayla is a lefty and more of a slower, movement-type pitcher," Gordon said. "I also have Alizah (Cannon) and Darien (Huffman) working on their pitching as well, just in case we were to get into a position where we may need some help."
Even though her options are limited, Gordon feels pretty good about what she has at most positions.
A group of local sophomores - Hillary Keller (Newton), Kelsey Maus (Oblong), Sydney Lingafelter (Oblong) and Jasmyne Thomas (Robinson) will man the outfield for the Lady Statesmen.
"Hillary has a great arm, tracks balls down very well, has speed on the bases and power at the plate," Gordon said. "Kelsey has a good arm and has gotten much better leading the outfield. Her bat is also coming back around and she is very quick. Sydney is fast, a hard-worker and is very versatile. Jasmyne is quick, has a good arm, her bat is improving and she works hard."
Behind the plate is another area that is covered well, with Huffman (Linton, Ind.), Shayla Hughes (Vincennes, Ind.) and Kayla Burner (Sims) expected to see time there.
"Darien has a good arm, calls a good game and has a decent bat," Gordon said. "Shayla is an all-around good player and has a great bat. Kayla is a hard worker, is a contact hitter and has some quickness, which should help her."
Gordon noted Hughes and Burner will also see some time on the infield, most likely at second and third. That is because first base will be held down by Cannon (Petersburg, Ind.) and shortstop by Kayla Carrillo (Avon, Ind.) Also, basketball player Andrea Rivera (Plainfield, Ind.) has joined the team and could find herself in the infield mix, as she was a shortstop in high school.
"Alizah works well at first and her hitting has gotten better," Gordon said. "Kayla is quick, gets good reads on defense and is consistent as a leadoff hitter. I don't know about Andrea, because she has been playing basketball and I haven't seen her play yet."
As it is with every team, the Lady Statesmen have their strengths and weaknesses. But, she believes her team the positives outweigh the negatives.
"Each individual has their own strengths and weaknesses," Gordon said. "As a group, I feel we are pretty decent offensively, but we may struggle some defensively."
To compete at the level they want and be successful, Gordon knows her team will have to play well in all facets.
"We will have to be on top of our offensive and defensive games," Gordon said. "But the biggest thing is staying in the game mentally at all times. This is one of the aspects we have struggled with in the past and it is definitely something we need to improve on in order to advance our program."
While wins and losses are important, Gordon's main goal is for the team to learn and improve as the season progresses.
"Our goal is the same as it always is," Gordon said. "We want to improve as individuals and as a team. We are constantly striving to improve our program and our program's record."
Lincoln Trail (2-4) started their season with a six-game road trip in Florida and came away with a pair of wins after an 0-4 start. The Lady Statesmen were slated to play their home opener today against Southeastern Illinois College, but the doubleheader was postponed due to unplayable field conditions. Lincoln Trail is next scheduled to play at Kaskaskia College Tuesday at 2 p.m.
2013 Lincoln Trail College Lady Statesmen Softball Roster
No. Name Yr. Pos. Hometown
2 Kayla Carrillo Fr. SS Avon, Ind.
3 Hillary Keller So. OF Newton, Ill.
5 Keeley Hutchinson-Sanders So. P Lafayette, Ind.
6 Kayla Burner Fr. C/UTL Sims, Ill.
9 Kelsey Maus So. OF Oblong, Ill.
11 Alizah Cannon So. 1B Petersburg, Ind.
14 Andrea Rivera Fr. SS Plainfield, Ind.
15 Jasmyne Thomas So. OF Robinson, Ill.
19 Darien Huffman So. C Linton, Ind.
20 Kayla Downing So. P Greencastle, Ind.
22 Sydney Lingafelter So. OF Oblong, Ill.
24 Shayla Hughes Fr. C/3B/2B Vincennes, Ind.
Head coach: Ashley Gordon
Assistant coach: Ross Westdorp
2013 Lincoln Trail College Lady Statesmen Softball Schedule
Date Opponent Time/result
2-28 at Northwest Florida State L 12-0, L 15-0
3-1 at Tallahassee Community College L 10-2, L 16-0