There’s a renewed sense of excitement around the Monroe Area softball program these days.
After struggling through a 4-23 season last year and a 6-22 year prior to that, the Lady Canes hired successful Loganville Middle School coach Nicole Conwell to help turn around the struggling program.
Conwell, a 2001 graduate of Monroe Area immediately got to work on rebuilding moral among the Lady Hurricane players.
“Our biggest goal over the summer was to improve the team’s atmosphere and climate,” Conwell said. “The players confidence level was low, but throughout the summer and working together as one unit, confidence improved tremendously. They believe in themselves and one another.”
So far the results have been seen on the field. The Lady Canes have started the season 2-0, defeating Rockdale County 12-1 and Prince Avenue 15-2.
“The players are very confident in their abilities as individuals and as a team. They have all made improvements to the physical and mental aspect of the game,” Conwell said. “They are also more positive than in previous seasons. The team is very excited to compete with some of the best teams in state. We have the focus, dedication, and talent to turn a few heads this season.”
Monroe Area returns some key players off last year’s squad, including Teiauna Maxey, Allie Hood, Tori League, Kayla Pounds and Mallory Holmes.
“I am pleased with the pitching from senior Kayla Pounds and sophomore Maycee Stone,” Conwell said. “Our defense as a whole and speed in the outfield is definitely a strength. Allie Hood and Teiauna Maxey have the speed and Tori League has the arm in right field.”
But the Lady Canes still face a tough task when they enter region play. Region 8-AAA is one of the toughest regions in the state and is arguably the strongest in all of Class AAA. Franklin County, the reigning Class AAA state champion, calls Region 8-AAA home as does Class AAA runner-up Jefferson. There’s also Morgan County, which is a tradition softball powerhouse and East Jackson which is just three years removed from winning the Class AAA state title.
“Our region is obviously strong with last year’s AAA state champion and many more teams that competed in Columbus, but we are working hard to compete with the same heartbeat here in Monroe,” Conwell said. “So far, the leadership change in the coaching staff has revamped this program from every detail of the fundamentals to the entire team’s atmosphere and attitude on the field. Each player’s confidence has improved greatly over the past couple of months.”
Monroe Area is scheduled to return to action Saturday with a twin bill against Oglethorpe County and Alcovy at Oglethorpe.