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Young Hawks start season strong

The Liberty Hawks softball team is young, but off to an encouraging start in the new season.

The Hawks improved to 2-0 on Thursday, beating Hoover 10-2 at home.

Liberty junior Camille Vestal blasted a three-run shot to center field in the first inning and the young Hawks continued to dominate from that point.

“We are young and unpredictable,” Liberty head coach Steve Uyeda said. “We have raw talent and it’s just about taming that talent now.”

The Hawks allowed a run on an error in the second inning and allowed the only other score in the sixth.

With eight freshmen and only three seniors on the roster, Uyeda said he expects the Hawks to be more of a complete team as the season progresses.

“It takes time for them to buy in and to understand the way we would like to have things done,” Uyeda said. “They’re so used to playing with raw talent. They’re not used to being a complete team yet. They’re only worried about themselves.”

Against Hoover, the Hawks were able to put together a team effort. Senior Brianna Burgess’ RBI in the third inning brought in freshmen Paige Chapman and gave the Hawks a 4-1 lead.

Sophomore Jaclyn Smith then scored on an error in the fourth inning to add to the lead. Hannah Casner, another sophomore, brought in two runs in the fifth inning to make it 7-1.

“We haven’t had this many freshmen in a long time, so it’s gonna be a good group for four years,” Uyeda said.

As he looks to the older players for leadership, Uyeda said the seniors are trying to teach the young players how to play the right way.

“They are our leaders. They know how I want things done, so they’re slowly trying to convince [the younger players],” Uyeda said.

The Hawks’ final runs against Hoover came in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded, freshman Lauren Chapman brought in two runs. Smith then added the final RBI.

“To get runners in when there are runners on, that’s a big skill,” Uyeda said. “A lot of times you have bases loaded and you don’t get anybody in. Hopefully they will continue to be able to do that.”


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