Rebel rush: Southland’s young pitcher and catcher have built a bond that has created a winning formula

Published 3:57 pm Wednesday, March 27, 2024

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ADAMS – Southland freshman Laney Weis has traveled across the country and competed with some high level softball players over the last year, but this spring she’s happy to be a Rebel again with her trusted catcher behind the plate.

Weis attended a Team USA softball tryout in Florida in late November after playing club softball for a team in Illinois last summer and after a short break, she’s ready to go full speed in the circle for Southland this spring. Weis has already been warming up for the season in indoor practices with fellow freshman catcher Clara Timm, who has caught for Weis for the last five years.

“Laney has improved from last year, we all have. Last year we were all a little bit nervous with being so young,” Timm said. “I’ve just got to make the pitcher look good. If I make the pitcher look good, it makes me look good. I’ve got to make sure nothing gets by me and make sure everyone knows what we’re doing. Being a catcher, you’ve got to know your pitcher and you’ve got to have a strong bond.”

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Weis nearly made the Team USA roster as just three out of the 29 pitchers invited to the tryout made the team, but she didn’t let that bother her. 

“I just want to get better. The main goal is to see different levels of softball and to improve,” Weis said.

Weis spent the winter with Timm on the Southland girls basketball team  and she mixed in a few games at the dome in Austin to stay sharp in February. Now she’s ready to attack the season after striking out 235 hitters with an ERA of 1.503 as a middle schooler pitching varsity softball last year.

“It’s been great seeing all of the things that everyone has done around the whole U.S (over the last year). There is a lot of talent out there,” Weis said. “What they do is completely different from what we do here. When I come back here I have to re-teach everything and it’s kind of annoying, but I do like it. I trust Clara fully, she’s my favorite catcher.”

Southland head softball coach Tom Clements, who is Weis’s grandfather, made the trip with her down to Florida. He said that the experience was priceless for Weis.

“You could see the upper level with not just the speed, but their ball movement and spin,” Clements said. “They were really superb and it was nice that Laney got to see that up close. She also did very well in the games that she played in down there. I think it was a good learning experience for her to know that she can compete at that level. When she got back I told her to take some time off.”

Two of Southland’s biggest challenges last season were inexperience and youth. The team is still young, but it has a lot more experience this season.

Weis and Timm will certainly provide a consistent battery to keep the Rebels in games.

“Clara has shown great improvement at catcher and a lot of our girls are stepping right into it and not making the same fundamental mistakes that we had last year,” Clements said. “Clara and Laney are both stepping into that role and they haven’t missed a beat.”

The Rebels had a breakthrough season when they went 18-3 overall last year and the team has most of the lineup returning. Still, Southland has just six players who are juniors or older as the team is made up of mostly freshmen.

“Every team is different and it depends on how they come together as a team. You don’t know until the season plays out, but I have a feeling that they’re ready,” Clements said. “We have goals to win the conference, get the No. 1 seed in our section, win the section and get into the state championship game in the state tournament. Once you get into that game, it’s anyone’s game. I believe we have the potential, but it will come down to how we play the game.”

Southland is set to host USC in Rose Creek at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. USC handed Southland its only loss in the regular season last year.