James Bergin looked out over the softball field late last week as his team went through their paces in practice. He liked the way they were fielding the ball; he liked the way they hit the ball and he really liked what he saw from the pitchers in the circle.
Bergin and co-coach Matt Corbin are fine-tuning their squad as they prepare to open the 12U District All-Star Tournament this weekend in Russell Springs. The tourney will run June 18-19, with the final slated for Tuesday, June 21.
“We need to show up and play good ball,” said coach Bergin. “If we play ball the way we know how to play, we will win. I am not worried about that. If we let them get in our heads, or we don’t show up to bat, make a lot of errors, we will beat ourselves.
Adair County will battle Marion County in the first game Saturday at 2 p.m., while Trace Creek will play Washington County at 4 p.m.
“We don’t know anything about Trace Creek. Washington County and Marion County always have good teams,” coach Bergin said. “I am sure we will see some of the kids we’ve seen in our travel ball games.”
Coach Bergin said he is familiar with just about every player on the all-star team, coaching most of them through travel ball in the past. That familiarity, he hopes, will pay dividends.
“I have been coaching most of these girls for five years as this is mostly our travel ball team,” the coach said. “We played in a tournament last week in Somerset, which was the first time they really played together, and they finished second.I really like this group of girls.”
This year’s roster is filled with players who have been in all-star tournaments in prior seasons. The team includes Braylee Corbin, Haylynn Stargel, Ashley Loy, Addie Bowman, Adysen Wooley, Laney Inchcliff, Callee White, Ella Brown, Allee Campbell, Keylin Bergin, and Harper Bennett.
“I would say we are more contact hitters than anything else,” coach Bergin said. “We run the bases well, play defense and we play well together. If we show up to play, we will win. If we let them get into our heads with a fast pitcher or a big hitter, that’s when we get into problems. This group doesn’t really make a lot of errors, they know how to play, so we are always thinking about the next pitch, the next play.”
Keylin Bergin will be Adair County’s main pitcher and her battery partner will be Wooley. None of Adair’s hurlers are known for speed, but coach Bergin said each of them do a good job with pitch placement.
“The infield knows how to play the game, they know situations and what to do,” said coach Bergin. “They defend the bunt well, and each one knows their position well. I think the outfield is defensively strong. We probably need to do a better job hitting our cutoffs and fielding the ball.”
Versatility, the coach said, is probably Adair County’s top strength. If one players goes out for some reason, coach Bergin won’t waste time bringing someone else in.
“All the girls can play multiple positions,” the Bergin said. “With our bench, it is more about who do I sit and when. That is definitely a strength.”
If Adair County wins the district tournament, they will advance to the state 12U tourney, tentatively scheduled for July 8 at South Oldham in Crestwood.