March 18, 2010 9:44:00 AM
The South Lamar High School softball team overcame injuries last season to make it to the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class A state championship series.
South Lamar coach Tony Seals hopes the Lady Stallions (1-2) can overcome injuries and make it back to the state championship series.
The Lady Stallions will try to get healthy so they can make up for losing to Speake in two games in last year''s state championship series.
South Lamar''s top two pitchers are nursing injuries and the team is using seventh-grader Hannah Cox in the circle.
Laken Hancock is expected to pitch Friday for the first time this season after suffering tendinitis in her shoulder and a bruised tendon in her elbow, while Kendra Wilson is expected to be out for two weeks after having her appendix removed.
In addition, second baseman Lauren Crimm tore an anterior cruciate ligament in the first game of a doubleheader a week ago Saturday and is out for the season.
"Depth wise we''ve had so many injuries that we can''t get anybody else hurt," Seals said. "It''s better that it''s happened now because you get kids playing time and they''re going to mature as the season goes along. When people heal up we''re going to be that much stronger.
"(The players) understand what''s going on, and they know we''re going to get everybody back, except for Lauren. That was a big setback because she hits the ball so well."
Hancock, last year''s AHSAA Class A Hitter of the Year, has played first base this season, but hasn''t pitched. She is expected to make a full recovery and to help the Lady Stallions in their quest to win a state championship.
"We had the Dr. Andrews clinic, which is the best in the world, take a look at her and they said, with two weeks rest and taking some medication, she should be fine," Seals said. "The only way it''s going to get better is with rest."
Hancock, who was also injured last season going into the area tournament, is as valuable to the Lady Stallions at the plate as she is in the pitching circle.
"Laken hits the ball well," Seals said. "Every time she steps up to the plate she''s a threat. She either hits a home run or hits it hard somewhere."
Wilson, who was also injured last season, had appendix surgery a week ago Friday. The surgery came after she totaled her vehicle in an accident.
The Lady Stallions will miss Crimm, who had the winning hit to propel the team to the state championship series last season.
Returning from last year''s team to help the Lady Stallions in their quest to get back to the state championship series are freshman catcher Karoline Holsonback and junior third baseman Samantha Trull, who made the All-State Tournament team a year ago.
Holsonback is joined by her older sister, Kacy, who plays shortstop.
"Kacy is a senior and she''s been offered by Snead (State Junior College)," Seals said. "She''s being recruited by Itawamba (Community College), which called last week. (Itawamba) can give four out-of-state scholarships."
Despite the injuries, Seals feels good about his team.
"We''ve got a state playoff team," Seals said. "I''ll be disappointed if we don''t make the playoffs."
South Lamar will play Addison (7 p.m.) and Phil Campbell (8:20) on Friday in the Hamilton (Ala.) Tournament.
n Lamar County: The Lady Bulldogs also look to overcome a shortcoming in the pitching circle.
Lamar County coach Steve Brock thought the Lady Bulldogs were set at pitcher, but Victoria Godsey decided not to play this season.
"We were counting on having a big year, but without her we''re not as experienced as we have been," Brock said. "I''m starting eighth- and ninth-graders, so we''re very young.
"(Godsey) has several small colleges looking at her. She was just burned out from playing travel ball and playing high school ball. She decided she wanted to take a break for this year."
Hannah Hassell is the eighth-grader, and Jessica Turman is the freshman.
Brock is counting on seniors Ashley Barham, Kimberly Elliott, and Whitney Hudson to provide leadership.
Lamar County (1-2) will play Hamilton (3 p.m.) and Brilliant (4:20) on Friday in the Hamilton Tournament.
n Sulligent: The Lady Blue Devils have won four of their first five games.
Sulligent coach Ronnie Hubbert believes he has a better squad than last year''s team, which finished 13-15.
"We don''t have as many girls out this year as we did my first year (last season), but the ones that are out there are dedicated and it means something to them to win," Hubbert said. "I hope we can keep this up."
Sulligent is led in the pitching circle by Montana Hawkins (4-0).
"We had a big win (Monday)," Hubbert said. "Oakman is an area game and they''re ranked No. 4 in the state and we upset them. (Hawkins) struck out 13."
Hubbert said the Lady Blue Devils have hit the ball well, with DeShona Lowe, Tori Lowe, and Holley Reeves leading the team.
n Pickens County: The Lady Tornadoes are 2-0, with freshman Haley Lishman earning both victories.
Lishman shares the pitching duties with sophomore Alexis Grammer.
Grammer, also a shortstop, is one of the team''s leading hitters with left fielder Kelsey Stewart and seventh-grade first baseman Hannah Windle.
"I would say (the good start is attributed to) hard work in practice and dedication and we''ve been on with the bats," Pickens County coach Summer King said. "We''re young, but we have a little talent this year."
Pickens County will play Monday at Sulligent and Tuesday at Gordo.
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