For the third time in three years, Spring Hill has a new softball coach.

Marty Mayfield has been hired to lead Spring Hill’s softball program. Mayfield spent the last six years working at Hallsville and directed the JV Lady Cat softball team the past two seasons.

Mayfield, 39, replaces Eric Montgomery, who left the post after just two seasons and a 16-27-1 overall record.

The Lady Panthers are hoping Mayfield can ignite a program absent of a playoff berth the past four years,

“That’s my goal,” the former Gilmer Buckeye pitcher said. “I know it’s going to be process where I’m gonna have to be patient. I can’t assume everybody knows how to play the game. I’m gonna have to coach them to what I want them to do.”

Hardly a stranger to the East Texas sports scene, Mayfield excelled as a pitcher at Gilmer playing a major role in leading the Buckeyes to the state tournament in 1995. Upon his graduation 1997, Mayfield played at Northeast Texas Community College and Arkansas State before finishing up at East Texas Baptist.

After spending his first year coaching at Hallsville, Mayfield moved to Hawkins and headed up the baseball program there for seven seasons. The Hawks managed two playoff appearances in that span.

Mayfield returned to Hallsville in 2013 and eventually moved over to softball in 2017 after spending four seasons with the Bobcat baseball team as an assistant to Scott Mitchell.

The transition from coaching baseball to softball wasn’t nearly as hard as Mayfield thought it would be.

“”I thought the biggest difference would be that you have to coach girls different from boys. But that’s just not true. You don’t coach girls differently,” Mayfield explained. “They’re athletes and that’s the way I coach them. The thing for me was learning how to throw underhanded. That took some work.”

Mayfield, who credits Hallsville varsity softball coach Kayla Whatley as being a big help in his transition, led the Lady Cat junior varsity to a spectacular 29-1 record this spring. The lone loss was to the Longview Lady Lobo varsity in a tournament.

“Coach Whatley has taught me a lot about the game and I credit her for sitting down and talking with me about the differences in softball and baseball. I’ve really fell in love with the game,” said Mayfield. “I’m hoping to bring that here to Spring Hill. I plan on coaching these girls hard and we’re gonna have success. We’re gonna have high expectations and plan on meeting them.”

Follow George Whitley on Twitter: @GPigskinprof