Lady Lions Rally for the Start of Softball Season


Karl L. Moore

Piedmont WLAX. (Photo: Karl L. Moore)

Written by Abby Cox, Sports Editor

The Piedmont College softball team was picked in a tie for first in the USA South West Division Preseason Poll, voted on by the league’s coaches. The Lady Lions share the top spot with defending West Division regular season champion, Maryville College, with each earning 60 points; however, Piedmont garnered five first-place votes, compared to the Scots’ four.  

Last season, the Lady Lions finished with a 31-12 overall record and a 14-2 conference mark. For the first time in program history, Piedmont hosted an NCAA Regional, losing in the championship round to Emory, who made it to the Division III Championship Series. 

Although the Lady Lions ended with an unfortunate result in the 2019 season, they are back, better and stronger than ever. Taylor Waldrop, assistant softball coach for the Piedmont softball team, enters her second season with the program, after her own four-year playing career at Tennessee Tech University. 

“I get to give back to the game that’s been a part of the majority of my life. It’s a way that I still get to be involved, even though I’m no longer playing,” Waldrop said. 

Waldrop explained that the biggest stand-out difference in the team is the chemistry between all of the girls. 

“I’ve never seen a team that really has every single person on the roster buy in the way this one does. These girls want to play, and they want to win,” Waldrop said. “We’ve got a lot of young talent, with only having four seniors. We’ve got some big shoes to fill from last season, but I believe this group is up for the challenge.”

This season, the Lady Lions must replace All-American Marianna Kennison, as well as All-USA South performers Hannah Hoban and Melissa Eckman; however, the team does return All-USA South second team performers in outfielder Rebekah Stegmayer, catcher Kaylee White and infielder TK Sauls. 

With a tough schedule ahead of them, Piedmont will be battling head-to-head with multiple top 25 nationally ranked teams. “We’re definitely going to see what we’re made of early on,” Waldrop said. 

Waldrop, fellow assistant coach John Winter and head softball coach Terry Martin will continue to point Piedmont in the direction of success. Martin is ringing in his 22nd season at the school, where he has led the Lady Lions to over 500 wins in his decorated career, seven NCAA National Tournament appearances, four conference tournament titles and 10 conference regular season championships. 

Piedmont opens its 2020 campaign with an NCAA Regional rematch doubleheader against Emory on Friday, Feb. 21 at 5 and 7 p.m. With facing this familiar opponent, the Lady Lions will be testing their confidence, strength and intensity.

“Every season is exciting. I think most coaches can tell you, we’re just ready for the games,” Waldrop said. “The entire team works so hard in the off-season and pre-season, that we get super excited to get out and compete against teams other than ourselves.”