access WDUN By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
Former Johnson baseball coach and current Gainesville baseball assistant David Hawkins takes over at Gainesville.
Gainesville’s Hawkins has a tough task in keeping the upward movement of the program going. The Lady Elephants set a school-record for wins in a season with 15 but narrowly missed on the playoffs.
“It was a great season last year and (former) coach (Roger) Parham did a great job of getting things headed in the right direction,” Hawkins said. “We have some talented players but our biggest concern will be in that we will have no one returning with any varsity experience in the circle.”
Sophomore Aliyah Goss is set to step in the circle for the Lady Red Elephants to start the season. They return five starters, including Brenau University-commit Whitney Ledford (Sr., C).
Senior outfielders Courtney Presnell and Kayla Montague and junior outfielder Tinisha Watson, little sister of Deshaun Watson give them a solid outfield. Sophomore Madison Oliver (3B) and junior Sydney Payne (SS) will help anchor the infield.
Gainesville was within one win of its first-ever playoff appearance in 2014 and Hawkins is hoping he can continue what Parham started.
“I feel we’ll be competitive. We’re looking for the seniors to lead us and all we want Aliyah to do is throw strikes and get better as the season goes along,” Hawkins said. “Our goal is to get into the top eight in the region to have a shot at the playoffs. Hopefully we can get that one extra win.”