April 29, 2009
South Lamar softball coach Tony Seals hopes to have a full compliment of pitchers when his team hosts the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class A, Area 10 Tournament.
South Lamar''s pitching staff has been decimated by injuries and sickness in recent weeks and Seals hoped the Lady Stallions would be at full strength when the tournament began this morning.
Seals had to pitch seventh-grader Kayla Jones for the first time in a varsity game against Gordo on Friday because Brittany Sanford has been sick, and Laken Hancock and Kendra Wilson have been injured.
"That''s big," Seals said of the pitching setbacks. "I don''t care if it''s baseball or softball, you win according to your pitching.
"It''s going to be difficult (if Sanford, Hancock or Wilson can''t pitch), but our hitting, I think, is better than most of the other teams. Our hitting, one through nine, is solid. We''re pretty good defesively.
"I like our chances playing at home, but I''d like them even more if our pitchers were healthy."
South Lamar (24-4) is the No. 1 seed in the tournament and plays the first game against fourth-seeded Berry at 11 a.m. today.
The other first round game matches second-seeded Hubbertville against third-seeded Parrish at 12:30 p.m., and then the losers play at 2 p.m. and the winners play at 3:30 p.m.
The tournament concludes Thursday with the championship game scheduled for 5:30 p.m. An if necessary championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Seals said Sanford hasn''t pitched in three weeks. He said she has been feinting and doctors haven''t been able to determine why.
Hancock twisted her knee while sliding into second base a week ago Monday, and Wilson sprained a back muscle this past Friday.
Seals said Hancock will pitch today, but her plant foot bothers her when she pitches.
Seals said Hancock is able to bat without experiencing much pain. He needs her in the lineup because she''s the team''s leading hitter with a .550 batting average.
Seals hopes playing at home is an advantage, but he doesn''t know how much it will help if the pitchers aren''t effective.
"I don''t know who''s going to win it," Seals said. "When I say I don''t know who it''s going to be, I mean I don''t know who it''s going to be.
"Hubbertville is No. 4 in Class 1A and we barely beat Berry when we played them. Any team is capable of winning it."
Meanwhile, Lamar County and Sulligent will play in the Class 2A, Area 11 Tournament at Oakman on Thursday.
Lamar County (15-9) is the No. 2 seed in the tournament. The Lady Bulldogs were tied for first with Oakman at 4-0 with a chance to be the hosts, but lost to Oakman 10-0 this past Wednesday and 5-0 on Tuesday.
"I still feel good about the tournament," said Lamar County coach Steve Brock. "The top two teams advance to the state tournament in Birmingham (Ala.) and if we win two games we''re in.
"We''ll play either Winston County or Sulligent and I feel pretty confident we can take care of business against those two teams. If we play Oakman, we know we''re in the playoffs. We played Winston County and Sulligent twice and took care of business against them."
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