Pitch­ing depth could pro­pel Lady Tigers into soft­ball play­offs

Texarkana Gazette - - SPORTS - By Louie Avery

When Rob­bie Hat­field says he's got his deep­est pitch­ing staff ever at Texas High, it's say­ing some­thing.

Hat­field is the only head soft­ball coach the Lady Tigers have had in the pro­gram's 24-year his­tory, and he's had a long list of qual­ity pitch­ers.

Pitch­ing depth is the main rea­son Hat­field be­lieves the Tigers will im­prove on last sea­son's fourth-place fin­ish in Dis­trict 16-5A.

“We've got ju­nior Ash­ley Wyrick back, and sopho­more Lind­sey Edgar is up with the var­sity this year,” Hat­field said. “We've also got sopho­more Mabry Smith, who trans­ferred in last February from Red­wa­ter and had to play on the ju­nior var­sity. We have high hopes for her.”

Sopho­more Kylee Spriggs is back be­hind the plate.

Grad­u­a­tion claimed four of the Tigers starters, but the only po­si­tion that Hat­field seems con­cerned about is short­stop, where Red­wa­ter trans­fer Court­ney Cheek and fresh­man Alexis Bolden are com­pet­ing for the start­ing job. Hit­ting sen­sa­tion Chelsea Slider grad­u­ated last spring and is now play­ing col­le­giately at Texas A&M Univer­sity-Com­merce.

“We'll miss Chelsea, but we've got se­nior Bra­ley Turner back at third, she's a four-year let­ter­man,” Hat­field said. “I think we're set at first with Kait­lyn Cross, and sec­ond looks solid with fresh­man Bai­ley Groom.”

Com­pet­ing in the out­field are se­niors Kin­sey Dixon and Rea­gan Ersk­ine with ju­nior Ryann Wil­liams.

“I re­ally do be­lieve we'll be im­proved; Turner had a great year at the plate in dis­trict,” Hat­field said. “All of our re­turn­ing play­ers have im­proved a lot.”

Hat­field also be­lieves he'll have play­ers on the bench that will con­trib­ute.

That list in­cludes se­nior catcher/ pitcher Court­ney An­der­son, se­nior in­fielder Madi­son Prince, and pos­si­bly one or two play­ers from the bas­ket­ball team. That sea­son ended last Mon­day.

Hallsville won the 16-5A cham­pi­onship last spring, with Sul­phur Springs and Mount Pleas­ant plac­ing sec­ond and third, re­spec­tively.

“I'd like to think we'll be right there in the hunt with those three schools,” Hat­field said. “I don't know what Hallsville has back, but Sul­phur Springs and Mount Pleas­ant are re­turn­ing a lot of play­ers. With the mix­ture we've got

and depth in­side the cir­cle, I'm re­ally look­ing for­ward to this sea­son.”

The Tigers scrim­maged crosstown ri­val Lib­erty-Ey­lau twice, and Hat­field was pleased with his team's show­ing.

Texas High opened its sea­son Thurs­day in the Sul­phur Springs tour- na­ment with games against Royse City and Mesquite Po­teet. That tour­na­ment con­tin­ues to­day and Satur­day.

Hat­field is be­ing as­sisted by Melissa Hardy and Lau­ren Pil­green.

B. TURNER

K. CROSS

R. WIL­LIAMS

R. HAT­FIELD

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