Now they are back to work.
After advancing to the regional tournament for the first time in school history and tying the longest tournament run since 2010, the Big Red are hoping an established tradition keeping bringing success for years to come. As much as the Big Red return, they also lost quite a bit of talent from that record-setting team.
Plymouth brings back six returning letterwinners with five earning All-Firelands Conference awards after they had a part in bringing Plymouth its first FC title since the 2003 season. Head coach Tracy Arnold, who almost took the Big Red to the state tournament in her first season, knows how special last year’s team was, but believes the 2017 Big Red are just as special.
“We return six letterwinners with consistent bats and every one of them are smart base runners,” Arnold said. “And all of our players are very versatile and can play multiple positions whenever they are asked.”
Headlining the Big Red this season is three first team All-FC selections from last season. Senior Katie Buskey, sophomore Morgan Chaffins and sophomore Tristen Wiley all picked up the honors during last season’s 22-6 and 12-2 Firelands Conference, sectional and district championship season. Sophomore Mallory Miller and senior Janet Arnold each picked up second team All-FC honors. Arnold will be the senior leader on the team after earning honorable mention All-FC during her freshman and sophomore seasons.
The Big Red also return 3-year letterwinner Romy Thornsberry as a consistent senior leader. With the loss of FC Pitcher of the Year Addyson Horne and slugger Haven Keene, the Big Red will find many new faces in new positions.
“We will have to see how well each player is adjusting to their new positions,” Arnold said. “We also have a lack of experience in the outfield and hopefully that can improve as the year progresses.”
As the defending FC champs, Arnold knows the Big Red will have a target on their backs, but knows this season is a toss up.
“The FC can chance on any given day,” Arnold said. “I am looking for Crestview and New London to be very strong, but we should compete very well this year.”
In addition to the returning letterwinners, the Big Red bring in some talented youth and veteran role players, Senior Alivia Spears will compete for an outfield spot. Sophomores Emily Akers, Shilo Plank, Kelsey Blankenship and Emily Blanton will all show their versatility on the diamond and could play multiple positions.
With a nice mixture of leadership and youth, Arnold remains confident the team can achieve its three main goals this year.
“We always want to play as a team and get better everyday,” Arnold said. “Then we want to defend our conference title and make a deep tournament run like last year and continue to build on tradition.”
The Big Red kick off their season at 5 p.m. on Monday at Colonel Crawford in a rematch of the district championship game.