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Bryan Howard is excited about his team's production this summer. (Staff Photo by Shelly Holinsworth)
 


By Trey Hunter
Mustang Times
Staff Writer


Mustang’s softball program is three weeks into summer games and head coach, Bryan Howard, can already see improvement.

“Everything has been great so far, considering our youth,” Howard said. “Most of the time the younger players in a program aren’t that seasoned, but ours are. So far this summer we’ve been able to work them in and we’ve had at least five freshmen in the lineup a number of times. They’ve done an excellent job of competing and meshing with the older girls, a lot thanks to our leadership.”

Mustang’s leadership has started with seniors, Jayden Chestnut and Caisey Jones. According to Howard, so far this summer, Chestnut and Jones have led by example and are teaching the younger players what it takes to play at the varsity level.

“Both Jayden (Chestnut) and Caisey (Jones) work so hard, it’s contagious,” Howard said. “Jayden leads more by example because of how good she is. The younger players have seen how hard she has worked this summer and how it has paid off when she’s in the circle. I’ve pulled her aside and talked to her about how what she does rubs off on the other eight players and how much she actually affects her teammates. She’s starting to really grasp that concept for us.

Caisey does a great job showing leadership on the infield. They both hardly ever miss a practice or a workout and that’s a great quality to have in your starting pitcher and your most veteran infielder.”

Not only does Howard like what the Lady Broncos have done in the field and in the circle the last three weeks, he also claims he’s excited about the way his team has approached the plate.

“Considering we have had five freshmen in the lineup most of the time, I’m really happy with what we’ve done at the plate this summer,” he said. “We’ve had a good mix of power and short game. We are working on not just bunting, but placing the ball to almost the exact inch with our short game.

I’m really happy with where we are right now and as we continue, everything will get more detailed. We will be able to use our short game to get runners on and then let the big bats in the middle of our lineup drive them in.”

As far as the intensity Howard has brought to the program since being named head coach in January, he says his team is starting to catch on.

“It’s minor compared to what you will see during the season,” he said. “I want them to be fired up and emotional about what we do. We can be just as intense as the football team. They’re starting to catch on to that and we will progressively take that to a higher level as we approach the season. I believe we can will a win. Sometimes you can win games before the first pitch just by how intensely you approach it.”

Mustang will continue playing summer games on Tuesdays and Thursdays during June. The first game of the 2014 regular season is August 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Putnam City West.


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