MONTICELLO — The Arkansas-Monticello softball team is gearing up for the heart of its Great American Conference schedule. And it may be peaking at the right time.
Winners of four of its last five outings, head coach Alvy Early said the Blossoms are primed for GAC play, though the 13-9 overall record is not indicative of the Blossoms’ future potential.
“I have a feeling we are getting ready to play well,” Early said. “It’s encouraging that we are seeing those signs at this point of the season.”
In the past four victories, UAM has won by an average margin of 5.25 runs per game while in its past three setbacks, losing by a total of six runs.
“We just weren’t hitting the ball like we are capable,” Early said. “In the last week or so we have hit the ball better. That’s what we expect to do. When we have our offensive production I put our team up against anyone in the country.”
The Blossoms are prepping for this weekend’s key GAC double headers against Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia with two games on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. and a twinbill on Sunday with an 11 a.m. start.
“They always play well against us,” Early said. “This is a rivalry for these two schools. I think it’s more a rivalry for them than us but it is an important series for us, although we are looking at it as just the next game on the schedule.”
The Blossoms will step out of conference on March 22 with a home double header against Delta State before continuing division play at home against Henderson State University on March 24.
Heather Wall took over the men and women’s golf programs this year after a brief stint in the private sector at RidgePointe Country Club in Jonesboro. Wall said she is excited to be part of the UAM golf program and is looking forward to a strong finish to the season after watching her teams struggle in the early season.
I started here in January and I have really enjoyed it,” Wall said. “I like the campus and the school and see a lot of potential here. I am doing a lot of recruiting right now and they are playing a lot of qualifiers to get as much competition as they can.”
On the men’s side, Wall has Jonathon Helton playing in the top spot with Josh Tomlinson, Jesse Smith and Jordan Christensen following in order. The fifth spot has Jared Blasengame and Jacob McGhee on a rotating basis.
White Hall product Kayla Walters heads the four-player women’s team with Brooke Boyd, Heather Sanders and Kathleen Couch rounding out the team. Wall is anticipating the addition of Taylor Clark to the lineup for the rest of the season. Clark is joining the team after finishing up on the basketball court for the Lady Blossoms.
“It’s been a challenge coaching the girls and guys,” Wall said. “When we are at tournaments I am having to go back and forth between all of them. Next year I am going to try to schedule separate events so I can devote myself more to the players.”
Wall graduated from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL. With her help the Moccasins won the NCAA Division II National title. As a player, she was a three-time All-American and was tournament medalist on three occasions. She holds the current record for lowest scoring average in a single season with a 74.27. After graduating from Florida Southern with her degree in Communications, Wall turned pro and played for two years on the Futures and SunCoast Tours. She won one SunCoast Tour event and placed second in another.