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Lady Panthers begin softball action Saturday

Daily Leader / Marty Albright / Brookhaven seniors (from left) Haley Speaks and Katherine Shell are ready to begin the 2016 fastpitch softball season. The Lady Panthers debut Saturday in the Lawrence County's Jamboree in Monticello. Brookhaven battles Seminary at 10:50 a.m. and Magee at 2:20 p.m.

Daily Leader / Marty Albright / Brookhaven seniors (from left) Haley Speaks and Katherine Shell are ready to begin the 2016 fastpitch softball season. The Lady Panthers debut Saturday in the Lawrence County’s Jamboree in Monticello. Brookhaven battles Seminary at 10:50 a.m. and Magee at 2:20 p.m.

Pitching and defense will be the keys to victory when the Brookhaven Lady Panthers kick off their fastpitch softball season Saturday in Lawrence County’s jamboree in Monticello.

The Lady Panthers will have two seniors providing leadership in Katherine Shell and Haley Speaks.

“We are excited to get the year started,” said Brookhaven head coach Mandy Vinson. “We should be really good on defense and have speed on the bases.”

The Lady Panthers will be looking to improve on last season’s 18-9 record (2-2 in region).

The Lady Panthers will have six returning starters to help in the field: Shell at pitcher, Speaks at catcher, Tia Bussey at center field, Jada Henderson at left field, Cheyenne Motley at first base and Kat Wallace at second base.

Brookhaven lost two starters to graduation last year: shortstop Katie Grace Culpepper and Julianna Porter at first base. Culpepper signed a softball scholarship to play for the Co-Lin Lady Wolves.

Shell is among the leaders returning who will help the team. She had a .382 batting average in 2015. Bussey provided a .290 batting average, Speaks had a .250, Wallace provided a .211 average, Henderson finished with a .181 average and Motley finished with a .107 average.

The Lady Panthers will be on the road for the first three games before returning for their first home opener against the Franklin County Lady Bulldogs on March 3. The junior varsity game will start at 5 p.m., followed by the varsity game at 6:15 p.m.

Brookhaven Lady Panthers Roster

Seniors

Katherine Shell, Haley Speaks.

Juniors

Tia Bussey, Jada Henderson, Cheyenne Motley, Macy Brabham, Destiny Trevillion, Takia Brooks (manager).

Sophomores

Rileigh Allen, Jadeyn Fuller, Madison Thompson.

<cTypeface:Bold> Freshmen <cTypeface:Plain>

Kat Wallace, Marli Peden, Maley Moak.

Eighth Graders

Lydia Butler, Maddie Miller, Meg Foster, Olivia Devoul.

Brookhaven Lady Panthers Schedule

FEBRUARY

20-at Lawrence County Jamboree (Seminary-10:50 a.m.; Magee-2:20 p.m.),

27-at West Lincoln Classic

MARCH

1-at Vicksburg

3-Franklin County

4-at North Pike

7-Enterprise

10-Natchez

11-at Lawrence County

12-at Lawrence County Tournament

19-Ole Brook Tournament

21-Vicksburg

22-North Pike

24-at Natchez

29-at Franklin County

31-at Loyd Star

APRIL

1-Wesson

4-at Enterprise

7-at Salem

9-at Loyd Star Tournament

12-Lawrence County

15-at Warren Central

16-Bogue Chitto

19-West Lincoln

21-Loyd Star

26 & 28-First Round of Playoffs