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|Roberts takes helm at Vidalia|
Graham Roberts will have the volunteer and assistant coaching tag taken off his name as the Vidalia graduate is now the head coach of the Vidalia High Lady Viking softball team.
Roberts replaces Jeanne Hall, who stepped aside to spend more time with her children.
Roberts, who played football and baseball at Vidalia High, was an assistant for Hall last year. He also assists with the Vidalia football team.
"It's a big difference," Roberts said. "There's a lot more responsibility. I've gotten a lot of good help from Jeane and Coach Parnham (former Lady Viking head coach and current Vidalia High assistant baseball coach Gary Parnham). Everybody has really been supportive."
Roberts, who also assists in football, said he is looking forward to the season.
"I think we have a solid group of girls," he said. "Everybody hustles and is having fun and that's a big part of it."
Roberts will be counting on senior Shelby Zimmerman on the mound. Ensminger was a back-up to Brittany Whittington, who graduated last year.
"Shelby has been biding her time," Roberts said. "We're focusing on three pitches with her. She's a competitor. Shelby is not going to overpower you, but we're working on her hitting her spots and forcing a lot of groundballs."
Junior Chelsia Fitts adn freshman Randi Cox are also pitchers.
"Pitching is such a big part of fast-pitch softball," Roberts said.
Senior Kaitlyn Wilson returns at third base, while junior Kassi Randall will be back at first base.
Transfer McKenzie Taylor, a sophomore, is being looked at at second base, while freshman Kennedy Beard has worked out at second base.
Roberts lost Parish Player of the Year Chelsie McElwee, who batted .415 with a .662 slugging percentage and Tori Lemoine in the infield.
Randall led the Lady Vikings last year with a .468 batting average, with a .597 slugging percentage and a team-high 18 runs batted in.
Roberts also has to find a new catcher to replace Mary Katherine Golden, who was lost to graduation.
"We're looking at Lauren Secrest, who is a good athlete and very vocal, which you have to have behind the plate." Roberts said.
Returning in the outfield are seniors Chelsea Warren and Erika Brown.
"We're still looking for another outfielder," Roberts said. "We have five or six competing."
Roberts said senior Claire Roberts is also will contribute.
"We're going to be very aggressive, but at the same time I believe in situational aspects of the game," Roberts said. "I told the girls I'm not afraid to bring in a freshman to pinch hit if someone is not hitting the ball."
Roberts said the pre-district schedule will be important.
"We'll be looking for the right combination," he said.
Roberts is being assisted by Melissa Doughty.
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