Sharks looking for softball youngsters to step up

Published 12:17 am Friday, February 14, 2020

The Sabine Pass Lady Sharks lost several seniors, and many of those that are returning are still in the midst of a winning basketball season. But once those players rejoin the softball team, coach Troy Gragg believes his young team will be playing well.

Until then, some of those younger team members are getting familiar with new roles.

Among the returners are pitcher Joanna Smolsky, who’s been with the varsity program for four years.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Gragg says Smolsky worked hard during the first half of the year and into the winter doing whatever she could to get ready, especially since he expects her to be one of his key players. She is joined on the pitching mound by junior Trinity Wilson, whom Gragg says has also been putting in time to get ready.

Jazmin Castro, a senior who also played volleyball, is joining the Sharks in softball for the first time this year.

“It’s her first year to play with us, but she decided to come out and she’s done really well to start,” Gragg said. “I’m sure she’s going to see some really good time and possibly start, especially early in the year.”

Senior basketball players Janesia Jones and Brooklyn Dixon are expected to join the softball team once the Sharks have gone as far as they can in the basketball post season. This will be Dixon’s second year on the varsity team and Jones’ fourth.

“We have three or four, most likely, that are going to be starters coming off of that team, so when we get them they’ll help us a lot,” Gragg said. “Until then we’re just going to be young to start off with until they finish their season.”

Among the freshmen looking promising are Sierra Simien, whom Gragg thinks will play a big role this year, and Karen Damien. Sophomore Marlyn Villanueva has done work over the summer, too, and will play a big role with the rest.

Weather has been limiting several baseball and softball programs gearing up to start the season, but Gragg says the Sharks have been hitting the batting cages and spending time in the outfield, and sometimes on the football field, too.

“We’re still working on the field to get it ready,” he said. “We’ve been able to do some stuff in the outfield for sure. Some of the days I know we had to practice on the football field just because it dries out quicker. But we’ve been able to get in a decent amount of work on the field. We’ve spent a lot of time in the cages swinging the stick but for the most part we’ve been pretty good.”

Until the basketball season ends, the younger Sharks will be expected to fill in the gaps left by their fellow baseball players still on the court and by the graduating seniors from last year.

“We hope basketball goes as far as they can get, but we’re going to have to have some kids fill some of those positions that the basketball team’s on,” Gragg said. “They’re just going to have to work them and they’re going to grow from that, playing in a new position, getting some work in there.

“You never know when an injury is going to happen, so at least they’re getting some work and knowledge in those positions because we need them right now. They’ll just benefit in the future.”

The Sharks begin their season at 6 p.m. Monday in Anahuac.