Carroll Academy has found its man to lead the fast-pitch softball program.
Carroll hired Delta State graduate Zach Whitfield as the school’s new softball coach, replacing long-time coach Rusty Miller.
“I’m super excited and ready to get started,” Whitfield said. “I played college baseball but in the last few years I have come to really like fast-pitch softball. It’s a fast game and really fun for the fans to watch.”
Whitfield played baseball at Indianola Academy and signed with Mississippi Delta Community College. But an injury sidelined his baseball career and he later transferred to Delta State to finish his bachelor’s degree. During that time, he was a volunteer assistant at Indianola Academy where he helped with high school football and baseball and was the junior high baseball coach.
During that time, Whitfield came to a realization about fast-pitch softball.
“I was president of Teen Mississippi baseball program and told them that we needed to move toward softball,” Whitfield said. “After we did that, I was around the game more and realized that’s what I wanted to do. I love baseball because that’s what I grew up playing but softball gets my attention more.”
At Carroll, Whitfield takes over a young team that struggled on the field last year in a highly competitive district. Whitfield said he will ask just two things of his players.
“I have two main ideas when it comes to practice and that’s to show up with energy and effort,” Whitfield said. “If they do that, I think everything else will take care of itself. As far as the team, we are going to work on game-like situations as much as possible. We want to get them comfortable with that and comfortable with being aggressive in the box and on the base paths.”
Whitfield, who will also be an assistant in baseball, said he has already met with players and parents and set the summer workout schedule, which begins June 3. Whitfield said he had 32 players come out to the initial meeting and the majority of those were younger players.
“I’ve been told that this will be a rebuilding year but I’m not going to say that,” Whitfield said. “I know we’ve got a lot of young players but that we are going to work hard and get better. I’m ready to get started and excited about what we can be. I know Carroll has had a good tradition and I’m ready to carry that forward.”
Whitfield said the Lady Rebels will kick the 2019 season off on July 26.