Davidson Academy’s softball field will be renamed Stacy Swinea Field on Wednesday before the Lady Bears’ game against Ezell-Harding.
Swinea, Davidson Academy’s softball coach since 1994, has more than 500 wins and won state championships in 2002, 2008 and 2009.
Swinea and the Lady Bears are hoping for a fourth state title this season after finishing as the Division II-A runner-up in 2010 and 2012.
Last season’s loss was especially painful as the team featured six seniors and four juniors.
“The girls work so hard all year to make it to that point, and when you fall a little short it’s very disappointing,” Swinea said. “We’re always thankful to be in that situation and hope to win next time.”
The Lady Bears are 26-7 and 9-0 in DII-A despite being one of Swinea’s youngest teams.
“We just graduated six seniors that all played significant roles,” said Swinea. “We’re a little inexperienced and have had to have new players step up to the plate and take on new roles.
“Every year our goal is to get to the state tournament and we would be very disappointed if we didn’t reach that goal.”
There are three seniors, including catcher Savannah Peek, who is hitting .512 with 44 hits and 36 RBIs.
“I definitely have become more of a leader on the team this year,” said Peek. “Along with Alex Gipson and Darby Rains, I have had to show the younger players how things work on the field and in the dugout so we’re prepared to win.
“This is by far my favorite team I’ve ever played on. We mesh really well and it doesn’t matter who is up to bat. I’m confident in every player from the seniors to the freshmen.”
Peek has played for Swinea for five years and has seen all sides of the coach.
“She’s a very hard coach, but she always has us prepared, taking ground ball after ground ball,” said Peek.
Swinea said she has had to change her coaching approach this year.
“I’m a little bit more patient and more understanding,” Swinea said. “They are playing in spots they haven’t played before. It’s been fun because they are eager to listen and learn.”