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Lady Panthers expect better results in 2007

With eight starters returning, the Brookhaven Lady Panthersanticipate a successful slowpitch softball campaign in 2007. CoachLisa Covington’s Lady Panthers were forced to settle for thirdplace in the Division 6-4A race last season and missed the stateplayoffs by one game.

“We are planning on doing better this year,” said Covington. Herteam finished 20-8 last season.

“We have some girls with experience,” said Covington who is inher 14th year as head coach at BHS. “I’m counting on our playerswho are coming back.”

She has three seniors on the squad in standout shortstop TerriHodges (.525), left-centerfielder Katie Stewart (.404) andleftfielder Georgia Rae Rainer.

Lost to graduation were two starters in heavy-hitting thirdbaseman Christi Martin (.525) and right-centerfielder CaryAnnRake.

On the mound, Covington is making some adjustments as a starplayer recovers from surgery. Pitcher Brianna Ashmore (20-8) underwent shoulder surgery and won’t begin practice until the middle ofSeptember.

Newcomer Casey Risher, a transfer from Union, will take over thepitching duties; along with first baseman Sabrina Delaughter whomissed last season due to knee surgery.

Jordan Beeson (.361)returns at catcher but could move to theoutfield. Hannah Lowman (.428) returns at second base. Stevie AnnWright (.451)returns to the outfield. Sarah Ayers (.328) will seeduty at third base.

At catcher Karlee Martin is being counted on to fill theposition vacated by Beeson. Kelsey Freeman should take a positionin the outfield.

Working with Covington as assistant coaches are Chad Walker andRonnye Hart.

Covington said she expected Lawrence County and Florence to bethe division title contenders after finishing 1-2 last season.McComb, Port Gibson and Mendenhall are the other division teamsplaying slowpitch.

In Saturday’s Classic contest at Pearl, the Lady Panthers playNorth Pike at 10 a.m. and Pearl at 11:30. Their first home game isAug. 17, hosting West Lincoln at the Ole Brook SoftballComplex.