LAKEWOOD RANCH — Every time she steps behind the plate, 11-year-old catcher Jessica Lock is hit with a rush of emotion.
It’s a mixture of both excitement and fear for Lock who knows that at any moment, she could come face to face with a whizzing softball or a flying bat.
“I like catching because it is fun,” Lock said. “It is also scary because I am back behind the batter.”
Lock had the opportunity to play her favorite position this fall, as a member of The East County Observer-sponsored 10U Miss Manatee softball team.
“They all thought it was very cool because most of them followed the articles from the team last year,” coach Kevin Callans said of The East County Observer’s sponsorship.
“It’s (fun being) interviewed by the paper because it allows everyone to know about your team and the players on it,” 9-year-old first baseman and pitcher Macey Callans said.
The team, comprising 11 girls, formed in September and practiced six times prior to playing their first game together in October.
Many of the girls had been playing together for a while on other Miss Manatee Softball teams and travel ball teams while some were playing the game for the first time.
After losing their first four games, the girls rallied together and ended up finishing second in the league with a 9-5-1 record and advanced to the league championship Nov. 20 where they fell to Road Runner Highway Signs.
However, the girls and the coaching staff couldn’t be more pleased with the team’s effort in their first season hitting off of girls pitching rather than their coaches.
“I enjoyed playing with some girls I have never played with before and trying to always get better and win,” Macey Callans said.
Kaitlin Yawn, 8, agreed.
“We had an amazing group,” Yawn said.
Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].
The East County Observer 10U softball team