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Goodson, Enterprise State softball hungry in year two

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Clair Goodson learned a lot about her team – and herself – a year ago during her first season as the Enterprise State Community College softball coach.

“The biggest thing is I’m also a mom now, and that’s changed a whole lot,” Goodson said during a recent press conference sponsored by Encore Rehab. “The girls say I’m a slight bit soft, but I don’t know.

“It’s just made me a little more chill and I’ve grown a lot in that one year, but I think all good stuff.”

Make no doubt about it, though, Goodson is still plenty fiery in leading the Boll Weevils’ softball program. The former Wallace College assistant, however, has had to adjust her coaching style a bit since becoming a head coach.

“I’m not going to say that my passion is not there, but I used to be really, really fiery and could get a little crazy on the field with the girls,” Goodson said. “Now, I think sometimes you have to adapt to the kids; the kids don’t adapt to you. I think I’m learning that a little bit more and how to back down a little bit. Every kid doesn’t need their butt chewed; some need to get a little hug.”

Goodson believes the sophomores on this year’s team have benefitted from being part of the program for a year and the coach is also excited about the freshmen she’s been able to add to the program.

“I’ve got a good group of sophomores that are back that were freshmen last year and had their first year with me,” Goodson said. “A lot of the girls I recruited in, I had good relationships with them when they were seniors in high school.”

Some of those freshmen will be heavily counted on.

“Kara Cox (freshman) from Wicksburg did great over the fall,” Goodson said. “She’s going to play outfield … great base runner. I have Maggie Furr (Andalusia) whose going to play everything … she’s going to pitch some, she’ll hit, she’ll play first, she’ll play outfield.”

Of course, Goodson will also rely heavily on the returning sophomores.

“Obviously one of my best sophomores returning is (infielder) Shelby Allen from Dale County High School,” Goodson said. “She was my left slapper – she’s got speed out of this world. She’s just one of those kids that wants 100 ground balls after every practice. She puts forth the effort.”

A couple of local products also transferred to ESCC for their sophomore years – former Dothan standout Rayleigh Thagard and former Enterprise standout Kyleigh Coin.

“She’ll make a huge impact with the bat,” Goodson said of Coin. “Rayleigh Thagard from Dothan High will be a huge impact at first base and with the bat.”

Recent renovations of the softball facilities at ESCC haves helped with recruiting efforts.

“I had a lot of girls I was recruiting and then obviously with the upgrades that we’ve made, I was able to show them, ‘Hey, look, this is what we’re doing here. Whatever you’ve thought about in the past, it’s different. We want to win and we want to be an impact, so if you want to be a part of that, come on,’” Goodson said.

The Boll Weevils went 26-26 during the regular season last year and were eliminated in the Region XXII Tournament by Southern Union.

“I know the freshmen who were on that field when we lost to Southern Union still have that taste in their mouth and know what it takes to get back,” Goodson said. “That’s what we’ve talked about as we’ve started practice. They’re hungry and they want to get back.

“It’s not just make it there; you want to make it there and you want to win. They understand what it takes to get there and what it takes to win once we get there.

“I think a lot of them hadn’t experienced what it actually feels like once you got to that tournament. They were prepared, but now they know how much more we need to prepare when we step back out there.”

Enterprise State is scheduled to open the season at Andrew (Ga.) College on Feb. 1. The first home game is slated for Feb. 3 against ABAC starting at noon for a doubleheader.

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