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Lady Wolves have few vets available

WESSON – Co-Lin softball fans will need a program to recognizethe Lady Wolves. Coach Allen Kent’s Lady Wolves, with just threereturning starters available, make their 2011 debut Saturday whenthey play Millsaps College in Jackson. The twinbill starts atnoon.

Pitcher Bethany Pinkston, catcher Laken Lockhart and first basemanHaley Sones are the only veterans back from Co-Lin’s 30-winsquad.

Sones, the lone returning starter in Co-Lin’s infield, isrecovering from a broken bone in her foot and some ligamentdamage.

Pinkston, a sophomore from Brusly, La., fashioned a 29-12 recordlast season. She had a 1.75 ERA and set a school record for wins(29) and strikeouts (304).

Pinkston is supported by two freshmen: Brooke Delaughter ofBrookhaven (Loyd Star) and Sarah Anthony of Denham Springs (LiveOak), La.

Sones, lanky 6-footer from Loyd Star, led the team in RBIs (27),triples (5) and was second in batting average (.409), hits (63) anddoubles (12)her freshman year.

Lockhart, from Watson (Live Oak), La., was a solid defensive playerfor Co-Lin. At the plate, she batted .305 with 25 RBIs.

“Our team seems to have some good chemistry,” said Kent. “We havepretty good team speed and a lot of versatility. We have severalfolks who can play multiple positions,” he added.

Kent said eight of his players and a manager were inducted into PhiBeta Kapa last weekend, recognizing their academic excellence. “Weare thrilled about their accomplishments in the classroom.”

Kent said his team needs to stay healthy as they tackle a 44-game,regular season schedule.

Freshman Kacey Smith of Meadville rolled her ankle last week inpractice. She had been projected as a starter at shortstop.

Kent said Co-Lin’s field is one of the deepest in the league. “It’s220 feet to the center field fence and 216 down each line.

“We have some girls who have hit some deep balls in practice,” saidKent. “Sones, Carrie Moak and Ashley McCaffery can hit the balldeep.”

Duane Burt is Kent’s assistant coach. Brandon Blakeney is workingas a student assistant.

“Our girls are chomping at the bit to play somebody besidesthemselves,” said Kent. He directed the Lady Wolves to a secondplace finish in the 2008 NJCAA National Tournament. They were thirdin 2006.

Kent, 47, is entering his ninth campaign. He has won four SouthDivision championships and has been runner-up twice.

The Lady Wolves are ranked No. 10 in the NJCAA preseason poll.South Division rival Gulf Coast is No. 12.

Kent lost third baseman Holli Smith, shortstop Danielle Wilson andsecond baseman Terri Hodges. In the outfield, he lost MoneaCameron, Dee Dee Walker and Kayla Coleman who got married.

Erika Rutland (.279)of Enterprise returns experience to theoutfield.

Smith signed with Spring Hill in Mobile, Ala. and Wilson signedwith Louisiana College in Pineville, La. Cameron signed withMississippi Valley State University.