Parkwood High School

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Parkwood High School
Conference: Rocky River Class 2A
Coach: Tim Speakman
2016 Record: 19-4, lost in Class 2A Second Round
Between the Lines: Coach Tim Speakman is in his first year after being the head softball coach at Ave Maria University in Florida for six seasons. … Speakman won over 100 games at Ave Maria and he has over 25 years of coaching experience. … Parkwood has six freshmen on the varsity roster and several are expected to play key roles for the Rebels.

A mix of some new and some old may just be a winning combination for the Parkwood High School girls softball team.

Tim Speakman is in his first year as head coach of the Parkwood Rebels softball team.
[/media-credit] Tim Speakman is in his first year as head coach of the Parkwood Rebels softball team.

Some of the new starts at the top with head coach Tim Speakman. Speakman is in his first year as the head coach after coaching college softball in Florida for the past several seasons. Speakman was also a high school softball and football coach and he was an assistant football coach at Appalachian State from 2003-2005.

Also new to the program is the addition of six freshmen to the roster, many of whom will play key roles for Parkwood.

The old is an experienced junior and senior class from last year’s team that advanced to the Class 2A playoffs.

Speakman said the transition has gone well and Parkwood is 2-1 after losing to Marvin Ridge March 8.

“It has been an interesting transition, but it has been a good one,” Speakman said. “Bottom line is that I have quality kids. And when I am talking about quality kids, I am talking about character. They have made the transition easier because they are a lot of fun to be around. Physically, we have to the tools to be pretty good. The mental part of it, our girls do not know the game well enough. But we need to teach them the mental side of it and we work on that every single day in practice.”

One of Speakman’s top priorities is to find depth at pitcher and at catcher. Junior Caroline Ruth is Parkwood’s top pitcher while Emmily Crook is expected to log time in the circle.

“Caroline is definitely going to be our No. 1 pitcher,” Speakman said. “But I don’t want her pitching every single game. That is why we are trying to develop another pitcher, Emmily Crook. We are trying to develop her where she can give us some quality innings.”

Caroline Ruth is also one of Parkwood’s top threats at the plate.  “She is one of our strongest bats,” Speakman said. “She is currently hitting in the three spot and she is currently one of our most consistent hitters.”

Outfielder Natalie Ruth, who is a freshman, is another top threat at the plate along with infielders Taylor Breidt and Chole Hardy. Breidt and Hardy are both freshmen.

Senior Bailey Morton and sophomore Sarah Harkins are currently logging time at catcher. “They are two pretty good catchers,” Speakman said. “My philosophy is that my catchers are not going to catch every single game. I have to give their legs some rest, so I have to have multiple catchers.”

Other players expected to contribute are outfielders Allie Griffin and Mary Pierce Barnes.

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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at