North Point softball ready to go
North Point softball optimistic about upcoming season
On a day in which the players and coaches of the North Point High School softball team were quickly reminded that winter had not en- tirely passed, the Eagles worked on various in- field and outfield drills on Monday in prepara- tion for the upcoming season opener.
Last season, North Point sophomore shortstop Ka- tie Delph emerged as one of the squad’s budding stars and this year she is part of a solid returning corps group of players that includes sibling bat- tery mates, senior pitcher Brianna Baker and junior catcher Jaelyn Baker. Delph will also bat leadoff, while the younger Baker occupies the clean- up hitter spot in the order.
“I think we have goals of getting more wins and going further than we did last season,” said Delph, whose team is in the Class 4A East Region along with fellow Southern Maryland Athletic Conference squad and defending region cham- pion Chopticon. “There are some good teams in our league, like La Plata, Huntingtown, Chopticon and Northern. That’s tough competition.”
Delph, who ran on North Point’s indoor track and field team during the winter and plays travel softball for the Southern Maryland Steamers based in Charles County, is eager to utilize her skills at the plate, on the bases and in the field this spring for the Eagles. As the leadoff batter, Delph brings speed and agility to the plate and she has ample range at shortstop.
“I think we’re going to have a really good infield,” Delph said. “We have a lot of new players, but the freshmen have already caught up. I like batting leadoff. You have to be consistent and get on base. I like bunting and slapping and then getting on base to be there when our other strong hitters come up.”
Jaelyn Baker will be one of the Eagles relied upon to drive in Delph and other North Point hitters. And also, like most catchers, Jaelyn Baker has developed a solid working relationship with her pitcher, older sister Brianna Baker. The tandem has been on the same page for several years now and they will be another key to the Eagles’ success this spring.
“I love working with Brianna,” Jaelyn Baker said of her older sister. “She knows what to expect from me and I know what to expect from her. We have a good team with a lot of good goals this year. It’s all about winning. We
want to win as many games as we can and get through the region. Personally, I would like to hit more home runs and drive in more runs this year.”
The Eagles ended 2016 at 13-8 overall with a second-place 9-2 in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference’s Potomac Division last season, one game behind La Plata, which claimed the 2A state title.
And while La Plata graduated the bulk of its lineup from last year’s team, North Point coach Tony Jones is blessed with returning players like Delph at shortstop and the Bakers as battery mates. While Monday may not have been an ideal day to work on infield and outfield drills as a winter storm loomed one week before spring officially arrives, Jones was pleased to see his players continue to progress.
“We have a good blend of returning players and new faces who are going to play key roles for us,” Jones said. “Having Bri- ana and Jaelyn as my battery again is a big plus and Katie is an excellent shortstop and leadoff batter. I don’t think we have to worry about surprising teams this spring. We have a good squad and I know the girls are eager to see just how far we can go this season.”
North Point will find out very early where it ranks among SMAC squads. The Eagles open the schedule March 22 at home against Chopticon, then travel to Northern two days later to face the Patriots whose run of eight straight 3A state titles was finally ended last May by Huntingtown, the team’s following opponent in a home contest on March 27.
North Point High School sophomore shortstop Katie Delph fields a ground ball and pivots and looks to throw to first base during the Eagles’ practice on Monday afternoon. Delph, senior picher Brianna Baker and junior catcher Jaelyn Baker provide the teamwith a solid corps group of returning players heading into the season opener against defending Class 4A East Region champion Chopticon on March 22.
North Point High School coaches and infielders work on various drills Monday afternoon at practice in preparation for the Eagles’ March 22 season opener against defending Class 4A East Region champion Chopticon.