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Lady Wolves seek state title

WESSON — The Co-Lin Lady Wolves begin their quest for a statetitle Friday night in the opening round of the 2004 MACJCState/Region 23 Softball Tournament at Northeast Community Collegein Booneville. The Lady Wolves are the South Division champs.

Co-Lin, coached by Allen Kent, is 24-6 on the season. The LadyWolves clinched the South title last Thursday, sweeping Gulf Coast5-2 and 4-0.

The Lady Wolves debut in Game Four Friday at 7 p.m. Co-Lin facesthe winner of an earlier game between the Northeast (North Divisionchampion) and East Central (Central Division runner-up).

Sophomores on the Co-Lin team include first baseman Hollie Bass,outfielder Rachel Breaux, pitcher Ashley Davis, catcher EliseDixon, outfielder Jennifer Doty, second baseman Ginny Dunaway andpitcher Katie Rouch. The freshmen include third baseman CourtneyAngel, outfielder Angie Davis, shortstop Jessica Melton, outfielderBeth Smith and catcher Mandy Vinson.

Co-Lin has two talented sophomore pitchers in Rouch and AshleyDavis. Rouch (13-2) is a graduate of High in Alexandria (La.) andDavis (11-4) is a graduate of Lawrence County. Both girls havepitched 15 games and 97 innings.

“They (Rouch and Davis) have done a tremendous job all year,”said Kent. “They have given us a chance to win every game. Bothgirls are very consistent. Both use the curve, drop and the rise.Their change-up has been good this year.”

Davis has faced 365 batters, allowed 49 runs on 90 hits with 53strikeouts for a .247 average. Rouch is .232 with 39 runs allowedon 88 hits and 35 strikeouts.

Kent talked about the importance of good catchers to complementthe pitching staff.

“Catching has been a bright spot for us,” explained Kent. “Dixon(from Amite School Center) has done a super job. There have beenvery few stolen bases against us. She (Dixon) has been veryeffective and has established a reputation that it is very hard tosteal on us.

“Vinson (from Brookhaven) has seen some good playing time behindthe plate and she has done a good job for us.”

According to Kent, all of the team’s losses were by not morethan 2 runs.

The Lady Wolves have been hitting well and he hopes that willcontinue in tournament play.

“Our hitting has been phenomenal,” said Kent. “We were hitting.386 before these last two games. We have very few weak spots.We’re averaging 6.8 runs a game and that is very good in thisleague. We have six girls hitting over .400 right now.”

According to Kent, the early season defensive errors have beenresponsible for the team’s six losses. “We have cut down on ourerrors. Of the losses we have had, it has been on errors.”

Kent expects the competition to be tough this weekend.

“It’s wide open,” stated Kent. “Northeast is the defendingregional champ. They are going to be difficult to beat. Their No. 1pitcher is ranked No. 5 in the nation in ERA. It’s going to be adifficult test.

“Meridian (the Central champs) is always strong,” continuedKent. “Pearl River (South Division runner up) is not to beoverlooked.”

Kent and the Lady Wolves have faced East Central 4 times earlierin the year and have gone 1-3 against the Lady Warriors.

“East Central is a solid all around team,” said Kent. “They’regood.”

Kent believes excellent pitching and the hard-hitting at theplate can get the Lady Wolves to the state championship.

“What we need to do to win, is we have to continue to get goodpitching from Katie and Ashley. We have as good a No. 1 and No. 2pitcher as anybody. These girls are coming in after winning severalin a row.

“We have to make the routine plays on defense,” added Kent. “Theoffense should score us some runs. We have as good an offensiveteam as anybody. Hopefully, we are peaking at the right time. Wehave to keep our focus and maintain our intensity. They have showna lot of heart and character throughout the season.”

Assisting Kent is Johnny Williams.