Adkins prepares for third season as ACHS Head Coach
Each spring, the ACHS Softball Team is favored or at least among the favorite to win a conference and possibly a state title.
This season will be no different for third-year coach Darrell Adkins and the 2018 Lady Cougars. The Lady Cougars are coming off back-to-back league titles under Adkins and will look to a strong group of senior leaders to guide the team into this spring’s NW 3A/4A schedule. Senior Julie Gast and Alexis Walter have already signed to play college ball with Lees-McRae and Pfeiffer respectively, while multi-sport seniors Chesney Millsaps and Kelsea DeJarnette will play college volleyball at CVCC next fall.
Adkins’ 2018 team will open the regular season on Wednesday, February 28, when it faces Central Cabarrus High School at Pfeiffer University.
In advance of the opener, Coach Adkins took time to describe his 2018 varsity players as follows:
* Julie Gast: SR – SS 2015/2016/2017 All-Conference, 2015/2016/2017 All-Region, 2015/2016 All-State…As a four-year starter, Julie has been an outstanding defensive player and has developed into an awesome hitter. Julie’s commitment to work hard defines her as a player. She is a great role model for younger players showing how to work to earn your position. She will be a critical part of the stingy AC defense and our powerful offensive attack. Julie has gotten stronger and faster each year playing for AC. Julie will be an essential part of our line-up and overall team success. I know she will have an outstanding senior season.
* Alexis Walter: SR – C/1B 2017 All-Conference, 2017 All-Region, 2017 All-State… An outstanding hitter, base runner and defensive player for AC Softball in 2017. Alexis’ experience as a returning player will anchor the AC defense. Alexis has a great skill set to play catcher while continuing the tradition at that position with players like Lauren Elder, Christina Krider, McKenzie Pennell and Brittney Krider. Furthermore, Alexis brings a “powerful” bat to the AC line-up. Alexis is more than a great athlete, she cares about her teammates and our team success. She is truly a pleasure to coach.
* Chesney Millsaps: SR – P 2017 All-Conference, 2016 All-Region…What a great young lady – Chesney is developing into one the finest quality pitchers that have come through the rich history of AC Fast Pitch. As a senior pitcher for AC, Chesney will have sole pitching responsibilities/duties. On the mound, Chesney will be very effective with her drop ball, screwball and change-up. Chesney is an outstanding young pitcher and solid hitter in our line-up. At the plate, Chesney has the power to hit the ball out at any time. I know she will have an outstanding senior season.
* Kelsea DeJarnette: SR – OF Another solid and reliable senior leader for AC Softball. Tremendous work ethic, fantastic attitude and great leader on our team. Kelsea is a dependable and strong defensive outfielder with tremendous arm strength. At the plate, Kelsea is capable of hitting the ball out-of-the-park at any time. In the outfield, she gets a great jump on the ball off the bat and tracks the ball very well. Kelsea is truly a “team before self” player. She is always working hard and is a pleasure to coach. She will be an essential part of our team’s success this year.
* Lanie Goforth: JR – OF 2017 All-Conference, 2017 All-Region, and 2017 All-State…An outstanding athlete, exceptional speed, strong arm, a complete player and a returning starter for AC. Our team is counting on Lanie to lead us in hits, stolen bases and runs scored. At the plate, Lanie is a solid hitter, slapper, bunter and defensively is an outstanding outfielder. Lanie reads the ball off the bat and tracks the ball very well. Lanie is very cool under pressure and can get that big hit when we need it. She has all the tools to be a great player. She will be a critical part of our success this season.
* Alexa Rash: JR – OF/2B An outstanding young lady who is an excellent softball player with great speed. At the plate, Alexa is growing into a solid hitter and defensively is an outstanding multi-position player. Alexa reads the ball off the bat and tracks the ball very well. Alexa is very cool under pressure and can make the big defensive play when we need it. She has all the tools to be a great player this year. She will be asked to play in multiple positions for the AC Varsity team this season. I have confidence she will have another great year.
* Mattie Starnes: SO – 1B/3B Mattie will start at a corner this upcoming season. Mattie will be a key to our team success this year. She is a solid defensive player, has soft hands and is an aggressive infielder that can make plays when our defense most needs an out. Mattie has great work ethic and mental toughness we need in our infield. Mattie led our JV Team last year in highest batting average and most hits. In addition, Mattie has great speed and is an aggressive base runner. I expect she will be an outstanding contributor to our continued team success.
* Gracie Rhoney: SO – 2B/3B An outstanding offensive and defensive player for AC Softball. Gracie’s experience as a JV utility infielder will help anchor the AC Varsity defense. Gracie has a great skill set to play multiple positions while continuing the tradition of outstanding defensive players. As a JV utility infielder last year, Gracie is a solid defensive player and outstanding hitter. She brings an awesome bat into the tough AC line-up. Gracie is more than a good athlete, she cares about her teammates and how successful we all are as a team. Gracie will be a critical part to our team’s success this year.
* Ashley Seagle: SO – 2B/3B Tremendous young athlete in our talented sophomore class this year. At the plate, Ashley is a strong/solid hitter and is an outstanding defensively infielder. She can play multiple positions. Ashley reads the ball off the bat and understands the defensive situation to make the critical plays. Ashley is very cool under pressure and can get that big hit when we need it. She has all the tools to be a great player at AC. She will be a tremendous part of our success this season.
* Alea Seagle: SO – 2B/OF Outstanding young softball athlete, one of the best all-around players we have on our team. She has great hitting technique, solid defensive player skills, great speed and will continue to grow stronger each year. She will be a threat in our line-up and can hit with power. This season, Alea and her sister Ashley will both play major roles in our team success.
* Tara Chatham: JR – OF Tara is a tremendous young player. As an outfielder, she is a hard worker, dedicated, very quick and tracks the ball off the bat extremely well. At the plate, Tara is an aggressive hitter. Tara will be challenging returning outfielders for a starting position. Tara will also play a critical role for AC as a base runner. She is very quick, a smart base runner and has good overall speed.
“The 2018 softball season is a great opportunity for our AC Fast Pitch program. We are blessed with talented players, great work ethic, and I believe the best coaching staff in the state. The history of AC Softball is un-matched, we have set high expectations and standards to meet in 2018. I firmly believe we are up to the challenge that lies ahead of us this year,” Coach Adkins commented. “As every year, we set a tough regular season schedule to prepare us for the 2018 Playoffs. With Chesney Millsaps as a returning pitcher this season, I am very excited about the opportunities that we face. I truly believe these young ladies will be aggressive offensively, solid defensively and consistent at pitching. Chesney Millsaps joins the great list of pitchers that have been a part of the rich AC Fast Pitch history… Kylie Cockrell, Chelsea Wilkinson, Kianna Millsaps, and Bailey Rhoney. I believe Chesney will etch her name in that rich tradition.We are blessed with great speed on this team: Lanie Goforth, Alexa Rash, Alexis Walters, Alea Seagle, Mattie Starnes, Julie Gast, Shykayla James and Tara Chatham. We plan to use that speed to create pressure on opposing defenses. In summary, I believe the 2018 AC Fast Pitch team will perform at the highest levels defensively, offensively, base running, and pitching.”