Photo by Penny LomenickHallie Turner fields a grounder in practice.
Photo by Penny LomenickVictoria Gurley of MA makes a throw in preseason practice.
Lady Patriots start season this weekend
Coach Carlton Gibson said his 2018 version of Marshall Academy Lady Patriot softball will have to learn to play with a target on its back.
“But I wouldn’t want it any other way,” he said.
MA enters the new season as the defending Class AA state champion.
“This is once again a good group on the diamond,” Gibson said.
Gone are four seniors, all who have advanced to the college level.
“Their shoes will be hard to fill,” he said.
However, he is excited about the largest roster ever for Marshall Academy softball - 19 players.
“The thing that excites me the most as much as anything is the number of sixth to ninth graders on the team,” Gibson said. “Our future is bright.”
Two freshmen will be doing the work in the circle for the Lady Patriots.
“We are younger than we have been in a while at key positions,” he said. “Our pitching staff will be comprised of two freshmen. Both of these arms will give our team a shot at the big prize, which is always a state championship.
“Five starters return from last year’s team and with the new additions we will be just fine.”
MA opens the season this weekend, July 27-28. Magnolia Heights is hosting a tournament at the Senatobia Sports Park, 250 Industrial Drive. The Lady Patriots play Tunica Academy Friday at 3:30 p.m. and North Sunflower Friday at 8 p.m. They will then face Copiah Academy Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and Lee Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
“We are looking forward to this season,” Gibson said. “The girls have been working really hard and are ready to take the field.”
The first home date of the season is next Tuesday, July 31, versus Magnolia Heights School, scheduled to start at 4 p.m.
The Marshall softball field is undergoing major renovations, which includes lights. Once the lights are up and working, home games will be at 5 p.m. (B-game) with varsity to follow.
The roster includes – seniors, Erin Lomenick, Baylee Floyd, Victoria Gurley and Molly Busby; juniors, Faith Shankle and Karina Mays; sophomores, Tyler Vannucci, Rayne Rippee and Xzorria Jones; freshmen, Carlie Vannucci, Zoey Rippee, Audry Worsham, Evelyn Greer and Hallie Turner; eighth grader, Scarlett Newman; seventh graders, Katherine Neeley, Carley Martin, Emma Michel and Hailey Honeycutt.
Fifth grade managers are Charlie Johnson, Luci Tomlinson, Gracie Rappa, Eliza Cavender and Laila Grace Clifton.