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Excel Christian tries to regain past glory
by Ericka Birdsong
ebirdsong@neighbornewspapers.com
September 12, 2012 04:02 PM | 1224 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Erin Gray
From left, Excel Christian school softball players Emily Willingham, 17, daughter of Jeff and Reba Willingham of Cartersville, and Nikki Burkhalter, 17, daughter of Lisa Haddock and David Burkhalter of Cartersville, get a pep talk from coach Jon-Michael Nickerson during practice last week.
Staff / Erin Gray From left, Excel Christian school softball players Emily Willingham, 17, daughter of Jeff and Reba Willingham of Cartersville, and Nikki Burkhalter, 17, daughter of Lisa Haddock and David Burkhalter of Cartersville, get a pep talk from coach Jon-Michael Nickerson during practice last week.
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As of last week, the Lady Eagles of Excel Christian had yet to win a single game in six tries this season.

While the softball team is struggling this year and finished 4-17 overall last season, the Lady Eagles had some much better days. In 2008, 2009 and 2010, the Lady Eagles were at the top of their game as they finished 22-12, 24-8, and 25-6, respectively.

Head coach Jon-Michael Nickerson doesn’t think the team can return to that place this season, but he does have hopes for next season.

“While I approach and prepare for every game to win, we have just dug ourselves too big a hole to get back to it. We do have a very talented young crop of eighth-graders that are very excited to be able to come in next year and provide us with some skill and energy to get back to that level though,” Nickerson said.

With the season going as is, the Eagles have lost some of their positive energy, but Nickerson said it is needed now more than ever.

“We’re still searching for our first win and while I know it’s tough to show up to practice every day with a positive attitude, it’s essential. We have to face the adversity that’s been laid in front of us and battle every second that adversity is present,” Nickerson said.

Even though Nickerson understands how hard it is for the team to keep an optimistic attitude with their current record, he notes the team’s inability to complete routine plays on a consistent basis and lack of hustle to finish a play are major weaknesses which hold them back.

“Too many times we have huffed and puffed and not finished the play when we could’ve kept the other team from advancing to another base. That comes from being mentally tough and being hard on yourself after the play has happened, not during,” Nickerson said.

The coach said his team’s goals for this season are to be competitive in every game and to approach each game with a winning mentality.
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