Barnett trying to bring back winning attitude


Raegan Robbins hit .418 last season to lead the Bell County Lady Cats.

John Henson, Managing Editor

As a senior at Bell County High School in 2012, Alex Barnett played on a team that finished 26-10 and advanced to the 13th Region final four.
Over the next six seasons, the Lady Cats won 26 games while losing 91 and never made it out of the district tournament.
When Barnett took over as head coach last season after coach J.W. Campbell stepped down, she tried to bring back the winning culture she experienced in high school. The results were impressive as Bell posted a 10-11 mark, the Lady Cats’ best record in seven years, and became competitive again.
“I think our girls developed more of a love for the game. Winning is important, but we want them to enjoy it,” Barnett said. “We try to have fun, but we still have expectations for them. We got in a groove last year and learned to play together.”
Barnett said the Lady Cats lost three seniors and a transfer from last year’s starting lineup. Several other girls joined the team late, which Barnett said slowed the team’s progress a little early in the spring.
“I was a little concerned at first, but I think we can be just as good as last year if we continue working and improving,” she said.
Raegan Robbins, a junior, is back at shortstop to anchor the Bell infield after ranking among the team leaders with a .418 average last season, including a home run and 11 RBI.
“She loves the game,” Barnett said. “Most of the kids see the game as a hobby, but when you find one who loves the game like she does it makes a world of difference. She is very versatile and can handle the bat.”
Camille Thomas and Jordan Muncy will see action at second base. Thomas hit .250 last season in limited acton
“Camille has really stepped up her game,” Barnett said. “She has put in a lot of work in the offseason and will probably be our leadoff hitter.”
Mataya Ausmus, a sophomore who transferred from Cumberland Gap, Tenn., is the probable starter at third base and will hit in the middle of the order.
“She is a good all-around player who can play several positions,” Barnett said. “She has a good head on her shoulders as far as adapting to situations. She is also a good hitter who can pitch some if we need her.”
Adriann Strouth, a sophomore who hit .300 last year in limited action, has taken over at first base.
“She has a good mentality toward the game. She is strong at first base. She can get to the ball quickly and is a good hitter who saw some action at DH last year,” Barnett said.
Mackenzie Napier, a sophomore, is back as the Lady Cats’ catcher after hitting .359 last year.
“Mackenzie has improved offensively and she is very good defensively. She is aggressive and knows the game well,” Barnett said.
Muncy will start in center field after seeing action at second base last season.
“She is a good base runner who gets to the ball quick in the outfield. She also has a good mentality as far as correcting her mistakes,” Barnett said.
Kamdyn Hoskins, a sophomore, takes over in left field after not playing since Little League.
“I wasn’t expecting her to progress this quickly. It’s been like riding a bike for her,” Barnett said. “She has good speed and gets to the ball quickly and gets rid of it. She has really been open to learning and improving.”
Madison Napier is the probable starter in right field.
“She does a good job defensively and is a team player,” Barnett said.
The Lady Cats suffered a blow on the mound as eighth-grader Mackenzie Miller, last year’s starter, transferred to Middlesboro.
Amber Lawson, a senior, is expected to take over as the Lady Cats’ primary pitcher. Ausmus and Thomas could also see action on the mound.
“She was very solid for us last year when she pitched. She has good control,” Barnett said.