Slowpitch girls softball season kicks off today

Published 5:00 am Friday, August 6, 2004

High school slowpitch softball action kicks off today for WestLincoln, Bogue Chitto, Wesson and Lawrence County. Brookhaven,Enterprise and Franklin County begin their seasons Saturday.

West Lincoln hosts a three-team, season-opener beginning at 3:30p.m. with teams from Wesson and North Pike. Bogue Chitto, under thedirection of first-year coaches Scott and Denise Leggett,entertains Natchez for two varsity games, starting at 5 and 6p.m.

Lawrence County, coached by Tarvey and Suzie Ward, travel toNatchez to face the Cathedral Green Wave for a junior varsity andvarsity game. The JV kicks off at 6 followed by the varsity at7.

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Saturday, Lisa Covington’s Brookhaven Lady Panthers open up athome hosting Pearl and Madison Central for their Classic beginningat 10 a.m.

The Enterprise Lady Yellow Jackets entertain five teams in theirtourney starting at 10 a.m. Enterprise faces Franklin County in theopener and Tylertown at 4 p.m. in the finale. Other teams includeMt. Olive, Prentiss and Salem.

Brookhaven Academy’s fastpitch softball team kicked off itsseason Thursday night at Centreville. They are coached by MikeRhodus.

West Lincoln finished the 2003 season, 25-10.The Lady Bears lost two starters to graduation. They were LyndsayFranklin, left center and Emily Richardson, left fielder.

“It’s been going good,” said West Lincoln coach Andrew Redd.”Our infield is pretty well settled. It’s a tossup in the outfield.We’ll let some different ones play.”

In tonight’s three-team tournament, West Lincoln hosts NorthPike at 3:30, Wesson faces North Pike at 4:30 and West Lincolnentertains Wesson at 5;30.

Redd talked about the Division 7-1A race. “Salem is going to beone of the better teams. Bogue Chitto is always competitive.”

Starters back for the Lady Bears include seniors BritneyPhillips at pitcher; Alicia Kennedy on first base, Lauren Smith atsecond base; Ashley Palomarez in left centerfield; junior BrittneeSmith at shortstop and freshman Holli Smith at third base.

Outfielders joining Palomarez will be April Kennedy, a junior,and sophomores Heather Huff and Amanda Miller. Seeing action fromthe junior high ranks are Kacey Smith, Keri Easley and MeaganNeal.

Redd wants the Lady Bears to do better than winning district andadvancing to South State.

“It was a tossup last year in district,” stated Redd. “One ofthe goals we set is we want to win the district. Union has put usout of the South State finals twice. We feel we can go beyond thatstep. We were South State runners-up and district champs the lasttwo years. We need to take it farther this year.”

“We’re looking for a a lot of good things this season,” addedRedd.

Enterprise kicks off its season Saturdaymorning hosting a six-team tourney. The host Lady Jackets play the10 a.m. opener against Franklin County and the 4 p.m. finaleagainst Tylertown. Other teams participating include Salem, Mt.Olive and Prentiss.

Under the direction of Steve Sasser, the Lady Jackets finishedthe 2003 season with a 12-10 record. Enterprise lost two players tograduation, Vivian Lang, an outfielder. and Erin Thornhill, apitcher.

“We have six seniors back,” said Sasser. “We will have fourseniors starting. We are not extremely experienced. We have someplayers that are going to have to step up.”

The seniors include Kaylin Burke, Deanna Albritton, JanaBrister, Monica Nations, Amber Baxter and Brandy Baudoin.

The Jacket varsity and junior varsity will total 27 girls thisseason. Thirteen players make up the varsity squad.

“This bunch is the kind of team that can go either way,”explained Sasser. “We can be pretty good or not successful. Theyhave good chemistry. They lift up each other. We have to focus ondefense. We are starting three rookies on the infield.”

On the mound for the Lady Jackets is junior Amanda Price.

“She is a rookie.” stated Sasser.

Joining Price in the infield are Monica Nations as catcher;Melinda Brister at first base; Melane Rutland at second base; CaseyRutland at shortstop and Alisha Mason at third base.

Playing in the outfield are Deanna Albritton in left; Burks inleft center; Whitney Kyzar in right center and Katie Hux inright.

Starter Sandy Baudoin sustained an injury during the summer andwill miss the season.

Hitting will be a key for Enterprise this season. “We arehitting the ball better in practice,” stated Sasser. “That is apositive side. If we can get some crucial base hits, we’ll beokay.”

Sasser talked about the division. “West Lincoln is the odds onfavorite to be battling for the state championship. Bogue Chittohas some athletes, eight or nine good fast, strong athletes. Coach(Scott and Denise) Leggett will put them through the grind. We hopewe’ll be good. It will be a battle.

We are ready to play,” added Sasser. “Lets see what we’vegot.”

Lawrence County debuts tonight at NatchezCathedral for a doubleheader. Cougar coaches Tarvey and Susie Wardwill field 22 players for the 2004 season. Nine members of thesquad are freshmen.

The Wards were selected as The DAILY LEADER’S Coach of the Yearon the 2003 All-Area Slowpitch Softball Team.

Eight starters graduated from last year’s 31-6 squad that madeit to the championship game of the Class 4A state tournament.

“We have been working hard,” said Ward. “We have a good attitudeand just three seniors.”

The three seniors include Ellie Fairburn, utility player; CoreyWalker, outfielder/pitcher and Kayla Givens, starting pitcher/infielder.

Ward said they have five starters back and several young playerscompeting hard to start at the other positions.

Lawrence is expected to be a contender again for the Division6-4A title. Ward feels the toughest competition will come fromtheir biggest rival, the Brookhaven Lady Panthers.

“Brookhaven is a big rivalry,” explained Ward. “We anticipate ahard game with them.

We are going to have to play hard to be competitive this year,”continued Ward. “We think Terry is very capable and competitive.McComb will be a lot tougher this year.”

Ward said they are definitely in a rebuilding year.

“We have a lot of young girls,” stated Ward. “Our junior varsityteam hasn’t lost a game in the last two years. They are quality andknowledgeable. It ought to be an exciting year.”

Ward talked about his team’s goals for the year.

“Our number one goal is to have fun,” said Ward. “And our No. 2is to improve as individuals, practice sportsmanship and beknowledgeable of the rules and how to play. Finally, No. 3 is towin district. I hope we are a surprise team this year.”

Bogue Chitto kicks off its season tonight,entertaining Natchez for a doubleheader. The Lady Bobcats are underthe direction first-year coaches Scott and Denise Leggett.

Wesson is coached by Jemmye Ann Helms. She has11 varsity players. The Lady Cobras kick off their campaign in theWest Lincoln tourney tonight.