On April 17, Trinity Baptist College Softball completed its first season in existence, and while the Lady Eagles’ inaugural success as measured by wins and losses was less than hoped for, head coach Ashley Forsyth found much to her liking throughout the season. Coach Forsyth also sees hope for much more in the near future. During a Q & A exchange with TBC Athletics, Coach Forsyth revealed her best moments of the team’s inaugural season and her hopes and plans for the next few years.
- Q: What was the best part about coaching the team’s first season?
A: Seeing the progress of each player from Day 1 through our last game. They truly put in the hard work and bought into the work ethic foundation that we want to build our program on. It was really remarkable to see the progression of the team.
It was also a joy to get to know each player and their background stories. We had a team full of many different personalities, but they were all unique in their own crazy ways. I love these girls, and they will always hold a special place in my heart as our first team at TBC. I am so proud of them, and it was an honor to be their coach.
- Q: What was the toughest part?
A: Not having our field ready. We were not able to have a consistent practice schedule, so that was tough on everyone — always having to adjust at any given time to get on the field.
Having only two pitchers was not ideal for our doubleheaders, but they did the best they could, and both ladies gave it their all.
- Q: What strength of schedule did your team face this season?
A: I told the girls I put them through a gauntlet of a schedule as far as the strength of the other teams. We mainly played NAIA scholarship schools, but in the long run, it made us better as a team.
- Q: Which players made the biggest impact and how?
A: Kayla Bass had a tremendous season and was the leader of the team. She hadn’t played softball in fours years, but she came out and led the team in batting average and played an outstanding third base. Kayla hit the first home run in team history.
Courtney Byrd came to us in January, and it was a blessing from up above. She anchored every single game behind the plate and also hit .325 for us this year.
- Q: Which players do you know will or will not return?
A: We have a good core coming back with Courtney Byrd behind the plate; Courtney Blansett at second base; Cierra Warren, Dasia Shepherd, and Bre Wyatt all in the outfield; and Lena Springer returning on the mound.
We are sad to see Kayla Bass go as she is graduating next semester. Jade Jerez, Lauren Lewis — who had the first hit in team history in her first at-bat — Heaven Crouse, Diamond Alford, and Dom Baldwin will also not be returning next season. I wish them all the best in their future endeavors.
- Q: What is the potential for the team in the next few seasons?
A: We have such a bright future ahead, and I am excited for what is in store for this program and our returning players and future players. We have a solid base of returners coming back that we will be able to build on and a great class coming in that will add value and depth at each position.
- Q: What plans do you have for recruiting for 2019?
A: Pitching! Pitching is our #1 priority this summer. More importantly, though, we are looking for strong character. We will take a look at any student-athlete who has great character, a hard work ethic, and a Christ-centered heart. We have many tournaments lined up this summer, and we are excited to spend our days at the softball field finding future Eagles.
- Q: What other thoughts would you like to add?
It was an honor and a privilege to be the first head softball coach at TBC. This would not have been possible without the vision of [TBC president] Mac Heavener, to whom we are all grateful.
I would also like to thank my dad, Bobby Forsyth, for coming out of retirement and putting his coaching shoes back on. Words cannot express the love, respect, and admiration I have for that man. The girls called him “Papa Bear,” and he loved every minute of it. This was a year we will both cherish forever having the opportunity to coach together at the collegiate level.
I would also like to thank Ms. Shannon Lusk for her help with the pitching staff this year. Shannon brought experience and knowledge to the team, and she is a tremendous asset to our program.
— Coach Ashley Forsyth, TBC Eagles Softball