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BHS softball seeks more wins in 2008

Looking for more success in 2008, Brookhaven’s fastpitchsoftball team kicks off their season Saturday in the BrandonClassic. The Lady Panthers, coached by Chad Walker, play Brandon at10 a.m. and Madison Central at 2 p.m. North Pike plays MadisonCentral at noon.

Walker, 36, is in his second year as head coach of the fastpitchsoftball program. He replaced Lisa Covington last season. Covingtoncontinues to coach the slowpitch team in the fall. Walker’sassistant coach is Ronnye Hart.

The Lady Panthers finished 17-10 last season, with no seniors onthe squad. This season there are two seniors on the team in pitcherTerri Hodges and catcher Katie Stewart, both Co-Lin scholarshipsignees.

“We are a little more experienced this year,” said Walker. “It’sup to our players if we are going to play up to our potential.”

Walker’s team was runner-up to Lawrence County and advanced tothe state playoffs.

Last season, Hodges compiled a 17-9 record. She was recognizedas the Most Valuable Defensive Player on The DAILY LEADER’s 2007All-Area Fastpitch Team. She was Overall MVP on the DL’s All-AreaSlowpitch Team last fall.

Asked about the team, Hodges said, “I think we will hit the balla lot better this season.”

Stewart agreed. “Coach Walker has had us doing a lot of hittingdrills during practice.”

Stewart batted .418 as a junior and was voted her team’s BestOffensive Player. She also earned the Scholastic Award.

“Our pitching and catching are better,” Walker noted. “Katie andTerri worked hard in the offseason.”

All of Walker’s 2007 starters return. At first base is SebrinaDelaughter, at second base is Casey Risher, Brianna Ashmore is atthird base, and Hannah Lowman at shortstop. Delaughter (.353) wasamong the team’s leading hitters last season.

In the outfield, Stevie Wright is in center, Karlee Martin inleft field and Brittany Bateman in right.

Also pitching for the Lady Panthers is eighth grader BrookeHosick.

Division Outlook

Walker said Division 6-4A newcomer Forest Hill won’t bea part of the division schedule. BHS, Lawrence County, Mendenhalland McComb compose Division 6-4A. Lawrence County is the defendingchampion.

“Lawrence County won it last year and they are still theteam to beat until someone knocks them off,” saidWalker.