When many coaches talk about having a young team, it typically is implied that the future is bright. That’s also the case with White County softball, but the expectations are clear from head coach Drew Owens.
“I’m never going to sit here and make an excuse for being young,” says Owens. “I don’t think being young means you can’t win. I think we have a very good shot of winning a lot of games. From a maturity [standpoint], we’re really making leaps and bounds.”
The Lady Warriors are enduring their first rough patch of the season, a four-game slide that included an extra-inning, lightning-delayed, walk-off road loss to Flowery Branch. Prior to that game, White County was 4-0 and earned a #4 state ranking.
This year, it’s girls like senior Rachel Brock and sophomore Reagan Dunagan who are leading the charge. While the quick start was great, no one on the team is getting overly excited about it.
“It’s always good to come out pretty hot, but ultimately you want to peak near the end,” says Owens.
Owens points to this team being selfless and hard-working.
“We still have a lot of young kids that are working their way up to the top, and I don’t know that they pay a whole lot of attention to [rankings, stats],” says Owens. “I haven’t had a kid yet this year ask me for a stat this year, and that’s kind of a pleasurable surprise.”
The foundation of this program is what has led to the expectation to win, no matter what the makeup of the roster is. That goes back 10 years to the 2009 season when coach John Brown was at the helm. That year, a young Lady Warriors group went 19-10, finished as the region runner-up, and made the first round of state. The next season saw White County win the state championship, going 30-6 along the way to a #1-state ranking. Even as Beth Kimsey took over as head coach in 2011, White County won 52 games from 2011-14, making the playoffs two more times in that span.
Owens took the reins in 2015. After a slow start with seven wins that year, the girls won 10 in each of the following two seasons, and won 15 games a year ago. That came with state playoff runs in 2016, 2017, and 2018. All told, the last 10 seasons features 147 victories, seven state playoff trips, and a pair of region runner-up finishes.
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