GOOD HOPE, Ala. — The Good Hope Lady Raiders posted a record of 12-21 last season and finished as the area runner-up, which earned them a spot in the Regional tournament in Florence. Sophomore Haley Lay talked about that season, what all she learned and what all she is bringing with her into this next season.
“I learned a lot from last season. I played somewhere I never played before. I started out as a catcher. It was pretty good,” Lay said. “We started out pretty rough, but we got better towards the end and this year will definitely be better. I learned that team effort is better than your effort and having confidence. Confidence is major. It was pretty cool getting to play with this group of girls last year. I made some new friends, and I learned a lot from them. I learned to be a better team player and to cheer them on.”
Haley has learned so much from head coach Tim Tucker and assistant coaches Phillip Keef and Skylar Tucker so far in her softball career.
“At first, they were really scary. I was really nervous of them because they were intimating, but towards the end, they’re really good coaches and they help a lot. I think this year is going to be a lot of fun,” Lay said. “I learned to be tough and to just flush everything. If I make a mistake, just get rid of it.”
There will be only one senior on this year’s team: Bailey Keef. Haley talked about what she’s like as a teammate and what all she taken away from her so far.
“She’s a really good teammate. She’s always there for the team when we need her. She’s a great ball player and she’s just a really good teammate. She’s really nice,” she said. “I learned how to be a great teammate and to just pick everyone up when they’re down. Always be there for my teammates.”
Haley worked on some things in the off-season to help get ready for the season. She talked about some goals that she has set for this season.
“In the off-season, I worked more at shortstop. I usually work on catching, but I work more on fielding and throwing. I’ve done some workouts just to get better. I played travel ball. I worked on hitting, and it went pretty good,” she said. “My individual goals are to be a better shortstop than I was last year, to have confidence in myself, and to hit good off the simulator. The team goals are to win area, make it to state, win state, and get better team bonding.”
Haley has been blessed to play with a great group of girls so far in her softball career and talked about what will make this really special to watch this year, plus the growth of this team from last year until now.
“They’re really fun to be around and they have a good team bond. When I’m down, they pick me up. They pick you up when you fall. They’re always there and they’re really good teammates,” she said. “What will make us really special to watch this year is our effort. We have really good effort and our attitude in the game is pretty good. We have grown a lot from last season. Our attitude from last year until now has changed tremendously. It’s awesome.”
Haley talked about her role models and the best advice that she’s been given.
“My dad is my biggest role model. In seventh grade, it was Tim and Skylar. They’re my biggest role models in softball because they have helped me a lot. Bailey’s my role model too,” she said. “The best advice that I was ever given is to flush it. Get it out of your head and just keep going.”
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