Former Spartan Ashlie Tatman returns to lead Lake softball

Lake Forest coach Ashlie Tatman will lead the Spartans on the softball diamond this season. (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

Lake Forest coach Ashlie Tatman will lead the Spartans on the softball diamond this season. (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

FELTON — Ashlie Tatman will have come full circle when the Lake Forest softball team opens the season with a trip to Georgetown to play Henlopen North powerhouse Sussex Central on Tuesday.

Tatman, whose softball playing career included four years with the Lady Spartans, was named the new head coach of the team and will be guiding the squad when they take the field against the Lady Golden Knights.

Whereas this will be her first high school varsity head coaching job, Tatman, who along with assistant Cassie Butler played softball at Lake Forest and graduated together in 2003, has coaching experience at both Woodbridge and Caesar Rodney.

“Once I got a job here at Lake, I knew I wanted to help coach softball even if it was as a volunteer,” said Tatman. “I have the desire and knowledge to coach and I’m looking forward to coaching and teaching at Lake Forest.”

High on the priority list Tatman wants to accomplish is adding stability to a coaching staff that has seen a new leader each of past several seasons.

“I want the players to believe in this coaching staff,” she said. “I know it’s going to take time. You need to be committed to them as players and you need to make sacrifices for them.

“I feel that, once they see that you are doing those things, then they will believe that we are doing our best for them. It’s really about what they want and I’m here to back them a hundred percent.”

Tatman went on to say the team’s goals this season will include communication, commitment and working as a team.

“We want to be better than a .500 team,” said Tatman. “Also, like everybody, we want to play in the state tournament. But the number one goal I want is for the girls to have fun and play as a team.”

While she is looking forward to the season opener, Tatman is a little concerned about the game, which is less than two weeks away.

“I’m a little concerned about the time factor because, due to the weather, we haven’t had a lot of practice outside,” she said. “We do need all the time we can get outside because, with only three seniors (Katherine Betts, Rebecca Fuzy and Julia Joyce), we are a very young team.”

Even though outside practice time has been limited, it may not take the Lady Spartans very long to come together as a team.

“Although most of my team are freshmen, we do have a talented softball team,” Tatman said. “They have a lot of experience playing softball and are talented, so they will come together quickly.”

Because of the weather, Tatman has not been able to evaluate her squad. However, she does have two experienced pitchers –Betts, who recently signed a letter of intent to attend Wesley this fall and sophomore Kerrigan Simpson – and catcher junior Catera Kennedy, who was the starter at that position last season.

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