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New region, new focus for Lady Tigers

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POSTED: July 25, 2014 12:00 p.m.
Photo by John Wood/

Bradwell Institute softball players use a unique technique to work on sliding during a recent practice.

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Bradwell Institute softball head coach Sharyll Eastlake more than understands the task that lies ahead for her team as the Tigers enter a new region for the 2014 season.
Bradwell, 5-14 last season, now is a member of the newly retooled Region 3-AAAAA. It’s one of the state’s toughest regions, containing the likes of perennial power South Effingham, Statesboro, Effingham and Richmond Hill. Each school will play home and away against each other. Region records will determine the seeding for the region tournament.
“Most of these teams are experienced and highly competitive teams, especially Effingham, South Effingham and Richmond Hill. The girls on these teams play travel ball year-round and attend private lessons for pitching and hitting,” said Eastlake, who is entering her seventh season at BI.
Bradwell returns two seniors Jakaria Fleming and Kaylee Taylor. Juniors Shania Eldridge, Kenzie Stewart and Leana Carrette also return for the 2014 campaign. Carrette has made every offseason conditioning session and is emerging as a leader. Stewart again will be a starting pitcher.
Assistant coach/pitching coach Misty Eastlake is developing other pitchers, including sophomore Tamia Johnson, who also plays third base along with freshman Madison Winn. Shortstop Melissa Gregory and outfielder Miranda Wells, both sophomores, are back as well.
With the new region has come an emphasis on conditioning. The squad began its regimen May 27 and has had between 21 to 39 players present for each session, Sharyll Eastlake said.
“One strength this year has been our conditioning regimen. Last season, we had problems with endurance and strength. The girls were exhausted by the fifth inning,” she said. “During the regular season, we practice plays and game situations. There is no time for running and weightlifting.
“One goal is to put at least one run on the scoreboard every inning. A realistic goal this season would be to work hard for third place in our side of the region. Wherever we end up in the region standings, I cannot predict. Most importantly, I want the girls to work hard, have fun and make lifelong memories,” the head coach added.
One example of how that hard work pays off is former BI pitcher Barbara Rego. Rego, who was part of the 2013 National Junior College Athletics Association Region 17 championship team at Georgia Perimeter, has been working out with the team during conditioning and serving as an example of what can be accomplished through hard work.
Two newcomers for BI are pitcher Kayleen Pixley and Miracle Fata. Fresh off moving from Hawaii, Fata approached Eastlake about playing last fall even as the Lady Tigers were ending their season.
“The girls are our greatest asset this year. We coaches are excited to have a group that is so encouraging of one another,” Eastlake said. “They are working hard. The willingness to come together and work as a team when the team has not even been chosen is awesome. If one player is having a difficult time keeping up the entire groups waits for her, or claps for her. I have witnessed the girls put their arms around a player and run with her. We have eight eighth-grade middle-school girls trying out for the (junior varsity) team this year, and the older players treat the younger girls with respect and are guiding them to become better ballplayers. I am excited with the esprit de corps of all the young ladies.”
The Lady Tigers’ first action of the season is hosting Liberty County High School on Aug. 14. Game times for the JV/varsity doubleheader are 4:30 and 6 p.m.

 

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