MARIETTA — A popular saying in sports is that “Familiarity often breeds success.”

MARIETTA — A popular saying in sports is that “Familiarity often breeds success.”

When former Marietta softball standout Sara Gore was brought in this offseason to take charge as the new head coach of the Lady Indians varsity softball program, she was more than just familiar with the culture, she already knew the potential of her players as well.

Having previously served as the head coach of the Lady Indians junior high softball program, many of the current Lady Indians have already had experience under the guidance of coach Gore.

It’s a system everyone involved with the Lady Indians is hoping with pay off in big ways not only this season but for years to come.

“These girls have really come together,” Gore said. “We’ve been working more as a team. I’m really proud of the way a lot of them have been improving through the summer. Our upperclassmen have already began to step up and have started leading each other. They all have their own part, and they all know what they need to do in order to help the underclassmen develop as players.”

In order for the Lady Indians to regain success, they will have to do so this season with one senior, as well as multiple juniors.

Bailee Gray will be the only senior on the Lady Indians squad, as she will be joined by juniors Mikayla Hicks, Allison Hicks, Karley Riley, Brisa Rueda and Lakira Anderson.

“Coach Gore has been my coach since sixth grade,” Gray said. “I’ve been through a lot of coaches with this program, and she is someone I truly believe in and someone I feel can help us be successful.”

“She (Coach Gore) knows what it’s like to play softball, and what it’s like to be in tough times,” Gray added. We’ve been through plenty of tough times as a young team. Her energy is very high and she loves to motivate people. I love being a leader, so leading the rest of the team is something that’s very exciting for me.”

Allison Hicks echoed the thoughts of her teammate, saying the benefit to having coach Gore has been feeding off her experience and knowledge she brings.

“She’s (coach Gore) has definitely helped bring a better work ethic to this team,” she said. “Her experience is more than what we’ve had in the past, which gives us reason to believe our future is very bright. We’re hoping for better this season and we plan to make it happen.” 

A different change this season for the Lady Indians will be having a set district to deal with.

Marietta has been placed in the tough district 3A-2 which includes Tishomingo, Kingston, Atoka, Hugo, Dickson and the Davis Lady Wolves. The top four teams from each district will advance to the regional tournament.

“Our young girls coming up are very strong,” Gray said. “They are stronger and better at hitting than I think a lot of people thought they would be. We have a chance to be very good if we play hard.”

Marietta hasn’t reached a regional tournament since the 2013 season when the Lady Indians won 13 games. The Lady Indians haven’t recorded a 10-win season since 2014. Both things are geared to change this season according to coach Gore.

“Right now these girls have the motivation of they are seeing themselves get better,” Gore said. “Our focus right now is to attack every team. I’m not sure if we are a dark horse or not when it comes to district play. We have a lot to bring to the table, it’s just going to be a matter of if we can step up when it matters most during the season.”