Co-Lin fastpitch has high goals

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 14, 2005

Allen Kent begins his third season at the helm of theCopiah-Lincoln Community College fastpitch softball program withhigh expectations for a young squad of Lady Wolves. This is thefifth year for Co-Lin to have fastpitch.

Kent, 41, and the Lady Wolves finished 25-8 last year, setting aschool record for victories. He has a 2-year record of 47-18. Theyplaced third in the state/regional tournament, losing by one run toMeridian, the eventual champion. Northeast was runner-up.

Co-Lin lost seven starters to graduation. They included twopitchers, Katie Rouch and Ashley Davis; first baseman Holli Bass,,second baseman Ginny Dunaway, catcher Elise Dixon and outfieldersRachel Breaux in center and Jennifer Doty in left.

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“We have a lot of big shoes to fill,” said Kent. “We reallyswung the bats well last year,” batting .365 as a team. The LadyWolves averaged 6.36 runs per game.

Rouch (.412), Breaux (450) Dunaway (.406) and Dixon (.309) wereamong the leaders.

“This is pretty much a rebuilding year for us,” said Kent. “Wemust replaced a lot of good hitters and leaders.”

Returning starters include Courtney Angel of Vicksburg at thirdbase, Jessica Melton of Bogue Chitto at shortstop/outfield andcenterfielder Angie Davis of Brookhaven. Angel was an all-regionchoice and batted .440 last year. Melton and Davis were all SouthDivision.

Also returning are utility players Mandy Vinson of Brookhavenand Beth Smith, of Wesson. Smith played for Loyd Star.

On the bright side, freshman pitchers Emily Horne of Pearland,Texas, and Kendra Lindsey of Olla, La., give Kent reason foroptimism.

“Our two freshman pitchers had a very good fall season againstDivision I and Division II opponents,” said Kent. “I haveconfidence in them. They are one of the best 1-2 punches in thestate.”

Freshman Megan Bateman of Brookhaven is expected to start behindthe plate at catcher. “Megan is progressing nicely after breakingher leg last summer,” said Kent.

Kent said he signed some outstanding players from the Co-Lindistrict. “I only hope that we can swing the bats as well as we didlast year.

“Our defense should be better, too,” Kent pointed out. “I don’tanticipate us giving up as many runs as we did last year.”

In the infield, Kent said freshman Stacy Smith of Monticelloshould see duty at first base. Jackie Stowe of Hazlehurst is thetop prospect at second base. Amber Beeson of Sontag has lookedsolid at shortstop.

“I’m optimistic about our team,” said Kent. His assistant coachis longtime veteran Johnny Williams.

Team statistician is Jessie Altman of Ruth.

Kent said Gulf Coast and Pearl River should be favored in theSouth Division race. Southwest and Jones County are expected to bemuch improved.

Co-Lin’s home games are doubleheaders and they begin at 1 p.m.The Lady Wolves make their official debut Tuesday, hosting EastMississippi Community College.

Equipment Change

In an equipment change, Kent said the regulationsoftball has been lowered from a 50-core to a 47 core, which ismore flight-restrictive. “Our offensive numbers should drop in thewhole conference.”

Recruiting Roundup

Kent said he had signed high school all-stateoutfielders Annie Selman and Lacey Williams of Copiah Academy, plusinfield/catcher Lauren Smith of West Lincoln and infield/outfielderKaylin Burke of Enterprise.