Lady Pats start
season this weekend
Expectations are high as the Marshall Academy softball team features a lot of youth but some experience, too, in 2013.
“This is a young group, but we expect big things from each and every one of them,” said coach Carlton Gibson.
The Lady Patriots, ranked second in the state in Class A behind Sylva Bay, throw the first pitch of their season this weekend, July 26-27, in the Bayou Tournament at Cleveland. The first home date is next Thursday, Aug. 1, versus North Delta. The doubleheader starts at 4 p.m.
The lone senior on the squad is Alaken McNeer.
“She handled most of our pitching duties last year and will pitch and play first base this year,” Coach Gibson said.
Juniors are Maura Autry, returning center fielder, and Kat Moore, the team’s primary catcher last year. Moore, in the off-season, committed to the University of Arkansas.
Gibson said Autry will again “take the lead in the outfield” and Moore could also see some time at shortstop and third base, too.
Newcomer Arin Leigh Valentine, also a junior, will see some time at first base and designated hitter.
Returning sophomore Hayleigh Mason will play shortstop and also split time with Moore catching.
Two returning freshmen were regular players last season – Hailey McMinn, an outfielder, and Darcie Gibson, who will help with pitching duties and play first base.
Eighth grader Alexis McGreger returns to her spot at second base.
A seventh grader returning is Erin Lomenick.
“We are looking for her (Lomenick) to step up this year and contribute in varsity games,” Coach Gibson said.
There are three new seventh graders joining the squad. He said Sarah Jackson will likely step in and contend for some playing time, and Molly Busby and Birdie Gray “are new to the sport but they are working hard and we are seeing improvement.”
Also new to the team this year is sixth grader Abby Lay.
Marshall Academy is moving down a notch in classification this year. The Lady Pats will compete in District 1-A with DeSoto School, Lee Academy (Ark.), Marvell Academy, Tunica Academy and West Memphis Christian School.
“Moving down to Class A, our district competition will not be as tough, but it will still be a tough road to win state,” said coach Marcus Moore. “Our goal is to be competitive in every game. We are playing a hard non-conference schedule and hopefully it will pay off come playoff time.”
Last season the MA girls finished 24-9, claimed the district championship and won one game in the Class AA state tournament.
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