Youthful Kent defeated in junior varsity softball opener

Justin Jenkins, a math teacher and testing coordinator at Kent County High School, returns for a second year as the junior varsity softball coach.

WORTON — If Kent County’s junior varsity softball team can match its win total of a year ago, it will finish .500 this spring.

That would be acceptable to second-year head coach Justin Jenkins, who returns only three players from the 5-6-1 campaign of 2018.

There are 11 freshmen on Kent County’s roster of 14 girls.

The returnees, all sophomores, are co-captain Caroline Milligan (pitcher, shortstop), Madisyn Yiannakis (outfielder) and Rachael Worth (catcher, outfielder).

Co-captain Kendall Langenfelder (first base, catcher) heads the list of newcomers. They are: Sara Bitter (shortstop, second base), MacKenzie Clark (third base, outfielder), Alana Fithian Wilson (outfielder), Kacie Hammer (first base, third base), Alex Joiner (pitcher, shortstop), Anna Phillips (second base), Emma Ranville (pitcher, first base), Faith Riley (first base, pitcher), Kendall Stevens (outfielder, catcher) and Lexi Sullivan (outfielder).

Langenfelder’s status is day to day due to an ankle injury, Jenkins said.

A scrimmage and the March 22 scheduled opener were casualties of a rainy March. Leading up to last week’s first game, the Trojans had only a handful of practices outdoors due to inclement weather and rain-soaked fields.

Jenkins said he has high expectations for youthful Kent. “We’d love a winning season,” he said.

Kent has a modest 10-game schedule because a number of schools on the Shore have dropped their junior varsity programs.

Highly regarded Colonel Richardson defeated Kent, 18-5, in the opener March 25. The Colonels pushed 13 runs across in the first two innings, many of them unearned.

The game was called due to the 10-run rule after the Trojans batted in the top of the fifth inning.

Milligan, who started at shortstop, came on as the relief pitcher in the third inning. She did well, allowing only five runs.

The other starters included Riley at first, Phillips at second and Clark at third; Yiannakis, Wilson and Sullivan in the outfield; and Stevens behind the plate.

Overall, the Trojans played well defensively, Jenkins said.

At the plate, Sullivan smacked an inside-the-park home run, Wilson doubled among her three hits, and Ranville (run scored) had two hits.

Milligan had a hit, drew a walk and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.

Jenkins singled out Clark for her team spirit and leadership. “She consistently communicated with her teammates throughout the entire game,” he said.

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