SYLACAUGA, Ala – The Sylacauga Aggies look to defend their Class 5A Area 7 title in the 2020 campaign under new leadership. Chad Wilkinson took over as head coach in mid-January after Jay Brooks, the Aggie softball head coach of five years, was named pitching coach for Sylacauga baseball team.
Wilkinson served as Brooks’ assistant the past three years, helping lead the softball program to it’s first ever area title by winning the Area’s regular season and tournament championships in 2019.
Entering his fourth year with the Aggie softball program, Wilkinson said, “I’m blessed and very excited about taking over as the Head Softball Coach for Sylacauga High School this year. Thus far, it has been a welcomed challenge getting the day to day operations up to speed, but we as a program are ready to get the season underway with the first pitch being this Thursday against Calera at Pinecrest Park. I’ve had parents and our booster club, who work diligently, to help us with operations so we can just focus on coaching. We as a coaching staff have been challenging these girls on a daily basis to compete at a very high level at practice so when games come, it will become second nature to them.”
The Aggies look to build on last season’s success with eight returning starters from last year’s squad, including Aurielle Turner and Neeley-Scott Wilkinson (seniors), McKenzie Merkel (junior), Raegan Wills (sophomore) and Lani Varner (freshman), all of whom were named all-county in 2019. Seniors Madison Martin, Ivey Waller and Millicent Taylor are also returning.
“I have been leaning on all of them for their leadership on and off the field. All players are unique and talented in their own way and will contribute to the team’s success this year,” Wilkinson said of his team. “The mindset of these young ladies is to go hard every play, and put their team first, always. We have been working on the fundamentals of the game, the little things that can give us an advantage over our opponents and having fun. This game is all about having fun, but competing everyday to reach their individual and team goals is what’s important. We have some very talented players in our program and we want them to reach their full potential.”
Thinking back to last season’s regional tournament, Wilkinson explained, “I’ve been looking forward to this season since the Regional Tournament back in May. It left a bad taste in our mouth and we are ready for the challenges ahead so we can get back to Oxford and send a statement. The players and the coaches are all excited and ready to get the season underway, we’re just hoping mother nature will cooperate for us.”
Aggie softball gets underway this Thursday at 4:30 pm when they take on the Calera Eagles at Pinecrest Park.
Listen on The Aggie Sports Network’s Yea!106.5.