Marcano takes Knights to state tournament in first year as coach
Fri. May 04, 2012 at 1:00 a.m. | By Andrew Carroll
TUSCALOOSA | The head coach is in her first season, but the tradition remains the same for the Tuscaloosa Academy softball team.
The Lady Knights, under the direction of 27-year-old Caitlin Marcano, qualified for another trip to Montgomery to participate in the AISA Class AAA tournament. Tuscaloosa Academy opens against Macon East Academy today at Lagoon Park. Other qualifiers from West Alabama are Sumter Academy in Class A and Marengo Academy and Pickens Academy in Class AA.
Marcano replaced Billy White, who left to take the head coaching job at Tuscaloosa Academy.
Marcano made the trip with 11 players. Randa Simpson and Kailie Melchior are the only seniors. Simpson, who signed with West Alabama, is an outfielder and pitcher. Melchior is a catcher and utility player. Junior Chassiti Kimibrell, a pitcher and outfielder, made the AISA All-State team last season.
Marcano said her potential starting pitchers are Simpson, Kimbrell and Leslie Andress.
The Lady Knights enter the tournament with a 7-14 record, but they did enough winning to qualify.
"I’m proud of how much they care about their school and the tradition within the program and mostly their dedication to each other, regardless of their age," Marcano said. "It was about finding that level where everybody kind of play on that same level and having the younger kids rise to the occasion and really having the reinforcements of my upperclassmen to instill that and lead by example for those younger kids."
As a first-time head coach, Marcano said she wanted to put her stamp on the program by having her players concentrate on playing together.
"I wanted them to conquer those individual and smaller battles," she said. "It’s all about the battles, not necessarily the war at the moment. We definitely have building to do, but it’s a good stepping stone."
Originally from Kansas City, Marcano played softball at Creighton, University in Omaha, Neb. She said she started off at third base but switched to designated hitter after undergoing shoulder surgery.
After graduating with a sociology degree, she was an assistant coach for three years at Millard West High School in Omaha.
"I was very successful there, and I felt I was ready to have my own team," she said. "I knew this was where I wanted to be and exactly where I needed to be. I was really excited when I got that call from Dr. (Jeffrey) Mitchell (headmaster) asking me if I would be honored to be the head coach here at TA."
Reach Andrew Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0223.