February 26, 2009
South Lamar softball coach Tony Seals feels good about the depth of his team''s pitching staff.
The pitching staff has gotten deeper this season with the addition of Laken Hancock, a transfer from Caledonia High School.
South Lamar was already returning varsity pitcher Brittany Sanford and junior varsity pitcher Kendra Wilson from last season''s team.
Seals is excited about the addition of Hancock.
"She was (Caledonia''s) MVP in the seventh grade when (the Lady Confederates) were the state runners-up," Seals said. "She throws in the low 60s. We''ve got three good pitchers."
South Lamar begins its season Monday when it plays at Fayette County in Fayette, Ala. The varsity plays at 4:30 p.m. and the junior varsity follows at 5:30 p.m.
Lamar County will open its season Monday when it plays at Gordo.
Pickens County opened its season Tuesday at Holt and plays at Central Academy in Macon today, and Pickens Academy opened its season at home Tuesday against Tuscaloosa Academy.
South Lamar returns all but one player from last year''s team that finished 17-14. The Lady Stallions also welcome back Taylor Richards, who missed all of last season after dislocating her shoulder in the first game.
Seals still has a young team. Jessica Bryant is the only senior.
"We''re going to have a good team," Seals said. "We''re better than we were last year.
"I''ve got about 12 girls that are good enough to start. You can''t start but nine, so competition wise within the team, you''ve got to play to earn a playing spot. It''s a good plus to have because I think we''re going to be very competitive."
South Lamar missed the playoffs last season and Seals hopes another year of experience will help his team reach that goal this season.
n Lamar County: The Lady Bulldogs return all of their players from last year''s team that finished 25-15.
Lamar County has five seniors, which marks the first time in Steve Brock''s four years as coach he''s had a senior.
First basemen Jessica Allen and Brittany Higgins, and outfielder Laura Rector will provide senior leadership. Higgins has signed a scholarship with Northwest Shoals Community College.
"They know what we do," Brock said of the seniors. "They''ve stepped up and have started helping our young ones coming up. They know they''re about to walk out the door, and they want to help the people coming up behind them. They''re actually taking a leadership role on the team, and that''s what we''ve got to have."
Brock''s prayers go out to Higgins, whose father has been hospitalized.
"We''re going through a tough time with her," Brock said. "She''s staying focused and coming to practice every day and working hard."
Sophomore pitcher Victoria Godsey also returns.
n Pickens County: The Lady Tornadoes opened the season with seven returning starters from last season.
"I have high expectations," Pickens County coach Summer King said. "We have four seniors back, so I''m looking forward to a great season.
"We''re still young. We''ve got an eighth-grade pitcher (Hailey Lishman). Last year, I had to play a lot of newcomers. This year, we''re still young, except for those seniors. We''re looking at four seniors and basically eighth- and ninth-graders."
The seniors are first baseman Caitlan Mims, third baseman Kayla Finch, shortstop/left fielder Brianna Howard, and catcher Harley Hudson.