CLOVERDALE -- Cloverdale softball is coming off a season where they captured the sectional title, and for new head coach Kim Bailey, the team is ready to improve on that success.
"I have to say, that out of all the girls I've seen throughout when I was in high school and things, they are a united front," Bailey said. "They are extremely close girls. I haven't had a single attitude problem and that's the first thing I talked about first day of practice. I just said 'I will respect you and you respect me' and they've respected everything, everybody on the team and that is one thing I have to say about that, they're a very close-knit group
"Talent wise, I think and I hope we're going to be as good as we were last year," she continued. "We have three pitchers this year, so our No. 1 pitcher is going to have some help on the days we need someone to come in and give her a break. So, I'm pretty excited about that one."
A key element to this year's success will be seniors Martika Byrd, Jessica Powell, Elizabeth Wiley and Brandy Wilson. Bailey spoke of their importance to the team and their leadership skills.
"I have a few senior before practice really begins, they get the girls going. They do all of our warm-ups. I don't have to go in. I can be taking care of the field and things like that and my seniors are taking control right from the beginning. That's one thing I like to see. I have a couple seniors in particular that are really good at that. They will make really good coaches," Bailey said.
This year's team is going to have a "new look" to it according to Bailey and a good number of freshmen on the team, which will allow for a nice junior varsity squad.
"Kind of with a fresh look. We have eight or nine freshmen, so we're going to have a pretty good JV. It's just kind of a fresh start for them. I was here last year as JV, so we have new coaches this year, but they have looked at it like a fresh start. I know they're ready to win as much as they did last year," she commented.
Bailey also stated that the goals for the team are ever evolving. In addition to wanting to hold onto their sectional title, the team wants to capture the county championship.
When asked about her expectations, Bailey didn't hesitate to respond and added a bold assertion regarding her outfield.
"I expect a lot, I do," she said. "I expect as much as they did last year and even more because we have four seniors, those freshmen that came in last year and who helped out of squad tremendously, I expect even more out of them.
"And our outfield is going to be amazing. We have, I haven't seen any other, but I can tell you we probably have the best outfield in the conference. We had it last year and I know we'll have it this year. What I've been super impressed with is our outfield," Bailey concluded.
Cloverdale is slated to travel to Owen Valley tonight for a 5 p.m. start.