Local prep softball teams off to strong start in 2007
Entering Tuesday, the three local softball teams from Newton County — Alcovy, Eastside and Newton — had combined for an overall 15-6 record. At this same point last year the teams were 10-11.
Arguably, the Lady Tigers (5-2) have had the biggest turnaround. In fact, they have already won more games than they did all of last year, in which they were a disappointing 2-18.
Last season, it took the Lady Tigers until September 12 to win their second game of the year. But Alcovy was a first-year team a year ago, and now head coach Casey Bates has his club heading in the right direction.
Alcovy freshman pitcher Dallas Hardin has taken over the number one role on the mound and has so far stifled opposing hitters.
Despite losing their star athlete, Catherine Lee (2006 All-State First Team; .353 average, seven home runs and 37 RBI), the Lady Eagles have started where they left off last year: Region 8-AAAA, SubRegion B champions.
So far Eastside is 1-0 in its region. Although the 2006 team began the year 7-0, the Lady Eagles have faced some tough opponents which should make them better as the season continues.
Entering the week, Eastside was ranked eighth overall in Class AAAA. But it will be difficult to top last year, a season in which Eastside head coach Heather Wood led her team to an overall 33-7 record (11-1 region). Still, the second-year head coach has the talent to go all the way.
Eastside senior pitcher Brandi Richards (2006 AllState Second Team) has impressed many with her arm. Against Evans and Loganville — two games in which she recorded victories — Rich-
ards combined to strike out 32 batters.
Last year, Richards batted .330 with 15 RBI. On the hill, Richards posted an overall 13-5 record including 212 strikeouts in 109.1 inning pitched, with a microscopic 0.64 earned run average.
Senior Brittany Harper (.302 average, 14 RBI) and junior Brianna Chambers (.292 average, 19 stolen bases), who each earned 2006 All-State Honorable Mention honors, also return for the Lady Eagles.
Currently, Newton head coach Jason LaChappelle has plenty of reasons to be excited this season, such as a 6-1 record (1-0 Region 2AAAAA). The Lady Rams have outscored their opponents 42-16.
Last year, the Lady Rams experienced an up-and-down season, posting an overall 13-19 record (4-3 Region 2AAAAA). It took them until September 14 to win their sixth game, unlike this year when it took all but seven games.
In fact, Newton began the season with a five-game winning streak, placing second overall in the gold division during a tough tournament against Crisp County (5-2, 1-0 Region 1-AAA), Perry (3-4, 1-0 Region 4-AAA) and Georgia Military (6-0, 0-0 Region 7-A).
The Lady Rams have been winning by way of their hitting and pitching. For example, during a 9-7 region victory over M. L. King on August 21, Shay Marks and Morgan Smith each belted home runs while pitcher Holly Springer recorded 10 strikeouts.
Contact: Amanda Henderson makes contact last year in action last year for the Lady Eagles. Entering Tuesday, each of the three local prep softball teams — Alcovy, Eastside and Newton — had combined for an overall 15-6 record.