Thursday, June 24, 2010
Marshall softball rebuilds
By BARRY BURLESON
The start of the softball season is just over five weeks away, and for Marshall Academy, it will be largely a new beginning.
All but two players on the Lady Patriots’ roster will be in ninth grade or below.
“We will pretty much be a junior high team,” head coach Susan Rodgers said.
“I told our parents that we’re rebuilding from the ground up, but our state championship teams started in the same position.”
MA won back-to-back Class AA state championships in 2008 and 2009 and the coveted overall crown in 2009. Some of those girls started playing on the team in the sixth grade.
Lost from last year’s squad, due to graduation, are three long-time contributors to the team’s success – Casey Gibson, Courtney Gibson and Anna Roberts.
Upperclassmen returning this season include senior Mallary Covington and junior Chelsey Gilliam.
Coach Rodgers said the team is practicing Monday and Tuesday afternoons, with regular practices set to begin July 19.
“Right now, we will have maybe five players one day and nine the next, out of 18 players, because of things like VBS, basketball camps, church camps, vacations and things,” she said.
“We’re starting from the ground up – reteaching some and breaking bad habits. We also have some who have never played softball before. We just have to teach fundamentals and get better.”
She is assisted by Carlton Gibson and Lamarcus Moore, plus a new helper, Terry Hoffman, who recently moved to Holly Springs.
“I have four girls taking pitching lessons from Terry, and it’s going well,” Rodgers said. “He also plans on helping us during the season.”
The Lady Patriots will open the season the last weekend in July in a tournament at Magnolia Heights.
“They will also have some professional softball players there conducting a clinic,” she said. “That will be very helpful to our young squad.”
Coach Rodgers said she has added some new teams to the schedule this year, plus the MA squad will continue to play in some college exposure tournaments.
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