SP Slowpitch Softball

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 13, 2010

Ashleigh Hicks (left) and Kim Wilson team up to coach the Lady Tiger slowpitch team. The Panolian photo by Myra Bean

Lady Tiger slowpitch opens season Sat.

By Angie Ledbetter

The South Panola Lady Tiger slowpitch softball team will open the season Saturday in a tournament at J. Z. George in Carrolton with 17 on the roster.

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With seven seniors on that list, head coach Kim Wilson feels good about the team going into her 21st year as a coach at South Panola.

“We’ve never had anything like that for a slow pitch team,” Wilson said. “It’s usually two or three a year. Out of that seven, five have played all their years in high school. The leadership is definitely there. So far in practice, I’m impressed with them stepping up. I think some of them are realizing that this is it because not all of them play fastpitch and we have a short season that last about five weeks before the playoffs.”

Wilson said all the seniors have different qualities when it comes to leadership.

“What I appreciate more than anything is they step up and are good leaders not only when I’m there but when I’m not,” she said. “When I’m five minutes late for something, they’ve already gone through the routine with stretching and warming up. This isn’t a group that I have to tell every step to make. They are a group united and doing a great job.”

Joining the team this year are five newcomers, Destine Brandon, Olivia Taylor, Savannah Williams, Shelby Ware and Misty Jenkins.

The team has been dealing with record breaking temperatures when practicing two hours each day.

“That’s been our biggest obstacle,” Wilson said. “We’ve been trying to figure out how we are going to practice in the heat and make it worthwhile. The girls have handled it very well. I haven’t had any trouble with them complaining besides saying it’s hot.

“They understand they have to run, hit and do the drills over and over again,” Wilson continued. “With all the breaks we take for caution, I hope it’s not messing up their rhythm. But there is no option but to break and I’ve never played a softball game that’s worth more than any of them. For the ones that have played this summer, they’re handling this heat a whole lot better than the others.”

With scrimmages still left to play on Tuesday and Wednesday, Wilson was not sure who was going to play in every position.

“There are several positions that are still open and some can be taken by a couple of people. We’re going to use these last couple of scrimmages to see who really comes out on top.”

The pitching mound, however, was the one certainty. Returning to the mound will be Christa Brown.

“She is as consistent as they come,” Wilson said. “A couple of others that will see some pitching time will be Chresha Brown and Dorian Winfield. Dorian played last year but has really come out of her shell this year and is hitting the cover off the ball.”

The schedule includes seven home games and six away. District teams are Grenada and Greenville Weston.

“Grenada is going to be solid every year,” Wilson said. “They had some seniors to leave and have to fill the gaps like us but I expect them to be as strong as ever.”

Independence, with a new coach, is in another district but always play a tough game. Wilson said the other schools have gone through the same issues with the heat, getting school started and trying to find enough time to practice.

With practice not starting until August 3, Wilson is somewhat concerned about the gelling of the team.

“We have to play on August 14,” she said. “For the girls that haven’t played this summer, that’s a two week turn around to get ready to go. Taking even the best players out there, some times it takes longer than two weeks to gel together.”

The Lady Tigers will host M.S. Palmer Tuesday at 4 p.m. and travel Independence Thursday for a 4 o’clock game.