The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

New field, new coach, new season

A strong senior class welcomes third head coach in four years
Junior Abbey Papadimitriou runs to third in a scrimmage early this season.

With the softball season underway, this year the athletes on the team have made multiple adjustments to ensure they meet their ambitious goals.

Since gaining their third head coach in four years, the team has learned to make the necessary adjustments to have a strong season.

New head coach Lindsay Gregory huddles with her players between innings in a preseason game. She is the third head coach in four years for the program. (Emily McKithern)

“We’re really senior heavy,” head coach Lindsay Gregory said. “We have six awesome seniors that have been with the program through ups and downs, coaching changes and everything in between”

The senior class has seen the most changes in their high school career, however, the team has worked through the challenges and are hoping to have a strong season. The team will compete in their first district game March 19 against Nacogdoches. The players’ ultimate goal is to get past the fourth round of the playoffs. The team reached Round 4 in 2022.

After reaching the second round of the playoffs last year, the team has been flexible about the staff changes and are ready to compete.

“I’m excited for the success that will be brought to our team,” said senior pitcher Erika Savage. “I just think it’s our time to shine and do what we know how to do.” 

Since joining the program as their head coach in the fall, Gregory has worked with the team on their mental and physical toughness. In hopes of eliminating some weaknesses, Gregory worked throughout the preseason to assure they would be ready when the season started.

Players describe Gregory to be lively, as well as one who likes to work in an intense, fast-paced environment. 

“She brings intensity to practice that we haven’t had before, so we’re always moving,” Savage said. “She’s always positive and always getting us to laugh.”

Senior Courtney Petrosino catches the ball to tag the runner out at third during a scrimmage against Cleveland. (Emily McKithern)

The program’s staff has worked with new and returning athletes throughout the preseason to help create a close-knit team. Leaders on the field have also worked with the coaches to build trust and accountability to make the transition into the season seamless.

For some of the seniors on the team, this year isn’t their first year working with Gregory. Gregory used to coach multiple seniors in a softball league in Crosby, which helped the transition going into the season. Since knowing multiple seniors in the program, Gregory has found it easier going into the season knowing that there’s people she can count on.

“The seniors have been solid since day one,” said Gregory. “I can count on them. They’re going to be there, they’re going to show the underclassmen the right way to do things, and the right way to approach each day.”

Senior Erika Savage throws a pitch in a game earlier this season. She has been in the starting rotation for three years. (James Pham)

The team has been working hard in their preseason to build a strong bond across all grade levels. The team continues to have team dinners before games, where they discuss their goals for the day. 

Alongside coaching changes, the softball fields have gotten new turf

For some athletes this change has made a big difference in the way they play, but others have gotten used to the change already. Since Kingwood Park was one of the last schools in the district to get turf, making the adjustment wasn’t too difficult for some players.

“With the new turf, the ball is just going to play a little bit faster,” said senior catcher Taylor Crawford. “When it comes to blocking, it’s just going to hop a lot, but it should be easier now that we have it.”

Getting turf on the fields means playing and practicing in the rain is now possible. Even though the team is continuing to face challenges going into their season, the excitement and motivation for the season is growing as the team’s continues its non-district games.

“We talked big time at the beginning of the year about how they need to be intrinsically motivated instead of being motivated by external factors and they’ve really taken that and run with it,” said Gregory. “They show up every single day, they bring the energy and they bring the effort.”

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