GREENSBORO – The North Carolina A&T softball team is ready to kick off its 2014 season under first-year head coach Kenya Peters at the Hornet Invitational hosted by Alabama State in Montgomery.
A&T is scheduled to leave Friday afternoon after a snow storm in the Piedmont area prevented the Aggies from leaving on Thursday and playing on Friday. A revised schedle for the invitational has not been released.
“We hit the ground running when we came in,” Peters explained about the transition. “We first had to evaluate our talent, find tune, adapt them to our program and get to know them as players as well as learn their personalities. They are adapting to the change and different coaching style. I think we’re going in the right direction.”
The Aggies 21-member roster includes a hefty senior class of seven starters which will be led by catcher Sabrina Edmonds. Edmonds was a 2013 first-team All-MEAC selection. During her junior season she led the Aggies with a .360 batting average that included 41 hits, 23 RBI, and six homeruns.
Senior Shelby Snyder will be on the mound for A&T as seniors Tranea Jones, Detavia Kenan, Tiffany Macklin, Dominique Smith, Haley Snyder, and Jax Kaye Woodard are all expected to see considerable time for the Aggies.
Another top returner for the Aggies is junior outfielder Raven Smith who also was a first-team All-MEAC honoree last season. Smith batted .310, recorded 31 hits, a team-high seven homers and 23 RBI. Junior Zebresha Blakeney, sophomores Alejandra Barcenas, Shaquionna Barnes, Kimberly Brunson, Alexiss Dominguez, Janika May and newcomers Syerra Askew, Charity Douglas, Lauren Irvin, Jaimie Jordon, Maiven McKnight, and Dasia Moore will round out the roster for A&T.
“All of our freshmen are coming in and competing for a position,” said Peters. “I know if something was to happen to one of the seniors or starters, the newcomers would have no problem stepping in.”
Last season the Aggies posted a 9-35 record as they faced difficulty in finding consistency with their offense, along with depth on the mound. This year A&T will focus on trying to finish games and keep momentum established from the first pitch until the seventh inning. In addition to rebuilding from the previous season, the Aggies will continue to grow within.
“It’s been exciting and fun to learn everyone,” Peters said about the team. “They all have different personalities which is a good thing. As a coach you have to be able to adapt and coach all of the girls with different personalities. That’s what makes us unique. Our team is fun. We have some comedians and then we have some that are shy but that’s what makes us Aggie softball.”
If weather permits, Peters will make her head coaching debut this weekend. Whenever her debut comes, she hopes to see the fruits of the Aggies labor.
“On opening weekend I just want to see all that we’ve worked on from the fall and preseason come together,” Peters said about seeing her squad play for the first time. “I’m excited about this opening tournament just to see where we are.”