April 1, 2009
The Lamar County softball tournament is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at South Lamar High School in Millport, Ala.
But after a tragic car accident Monday took the life of South Lamar seventh-grader Madison Orr, South Lamar coach Tony Seals doesn''t know when the tournament will be played.
"We just found out the funeral is supposed to be Saturday and the tournament is supposed to be Friday and Saturday," said Seals, whose team is supposed to be the tournament host. "This has affected over half of my team because a lot of them were real close to this girl. If the funeral is Saturday, they''re going to go. I don''t know if I''m going to have enough girls to play in the tournament. We''re trying to figure out what to do.
"If the funeral was going to be Friday, we''d just play an all-day Saturday tournament. If it''s Saturday, what I''m trying to do is see if the superintendent will let us do an all-day Friday tournament, starting about 10 o''clock in the morning."
According to Seals, Orr lived in Reform, Ala., and was killed while returning home from school Monday. She was returning home with her brother, who was driving, the coach said.
Seals said Orr transferred to South Lamar to play softball, but she was not a member of this year''s team.
"She had to sit out this year," Seals said. "She couldn''t play anything because she didn''t move (from Reform to Millport).
"She was a seventh-grader. That''s why she wasn''t eligible this year. Her mother came to me last year and I told her what she had to do to be eligible. She didn''t move so she wasn''t eligible."
South Lamar is 11-0 and drew a first-round bye for the tournament. The Lady Stallions will play the winner of Lamar County and Sulligent.
Lamar County and Sulligent are scheduled to play at 4 p.m. Friday, with the winner advancing to play South Lamar at 7 p.m. Friday. The double-elimination tournament is scheduled to conclude Saturday with the championship game.
But Seals said things are still undecided.
"If the funeral is Saturday, I don''t know what we''re going to do," Seals said. "We''re going to figure something out."
Seals likes the advantage of playing the tournament on South Lamar''s field and having a first-round bye.
"Any time you can host a tournament on your field it''s big, especially with the way we''re playing right now," Seals said. "We''re still undefeated. It''s big for our girls, and it''s big for our community. We''ve got a lot of people coming to watch us play."
South Lamar had a game Tuesday canceled because of rain and hasn''t played since a week ago Tuesday. Seals hopes a layoff won''t affect the team when it plays in the county tournament.
Seals credits the team''s success to having three pitchers, including Laken Hancock (a transfer from Caledonia) and Brittany Sanford (last year''s starting pitcher).
Lamar County will take a 6-5 record into its game against Sulligent to open the tournament.
"We''ve played decent at times," Lamar County coach Steve Brock said. "We play pretty good ball defensively. We''re kind of struggling at the plate. We''re not putting the ball in play like we should. The girls have it in them to play and beat any team in this tournament. It depends on what team shows up for us and what teams takes the field."
Brock said the Lady Bulldogs will use the tournament as a tuneup for the rest of the season.
"We''re fixing to get kicked off the next three weeks," Brock said. "We''re going to be playing six games a week, Monday through Saturday, for the next three weeks. We''re fixing to get into the meat of our schedule."
Senior shortstop Kristina Crawford, who is batting .500, leads Lamar County. She has struck out only one time this season.
Sophomore Victoria Godsey leads the team in the circle.