The second season of the Monica Mills era is underway for the West Georgia Technical College softball team.
The Golden Knights opened the campaign this past weekend by splitting a twin bill against Piedmont College's JV squad and they return to the diamond on Saturday to host Thomas University in an 11 a.m. doubleheader.
Following a slow start last season, the Golden Knights finished 9-27 overall and 5-23 in the Division I ranks of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA). WGTC was challenging for a postseason berth right down to the last weekend of play.
Mills reflected on last season as an opportunity to grow and the second-year head coach has higher expectations this spring.
“Last season our focus was buying into the process — we wanted to just get better each week,” Mills said. “Our goals this year are higher and making the GCAA Tournament is one of them.”
This year's squad includes eight returners to go along with 10 incoming freshmen. "I am excited about the season,” Mills said. “I feel good about the talent we have coming in along with our returners. I feel good about our pitching staff that is coming back and how they have progressed over the offseason.”
One of those key returners is utility player Chancey Davis, who led the Golden Knights with 14 RBI in 2017 and posted a .297 batting average. Also back is outfielder Kendall Hardy, who was second on the team with a .299 batting average to go along with 9 RBI and a .404 on-base percentage.
In the circle, Villa Rica product Hannah Hennessy returns after posting a 4-9 record last season with a save to go along with a team-leading 3.57 ERA and 11 complete games. Another local product expected to lead on the staff is former Mount Zion ace Jayde Bradley. During her freshman campaign, Bradley went 3-5 overall with a 4.15 ERA. Another returner expected to contribute is Summerville native Kailen Greer. The Chattooga High alum appeared in 14 games and went 1-2.
Among the freshmen looking to contribute are two more local products in former Central High state champion shortstop Kayla Sales, along with former Heard County first baseman Hannah Stephens.
All WGTC home games are played at Central High School in Carrollton.
Ken Skinner of West Georgia Sports Information Services contributed to this article.