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Lady Tigers drop game to Groves 5-10
Switch hitter: In Thursday’s game Alford batted left handed twice and brought in a score. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
The Lady Tigers softball team battled against Groves on Thursday afternoon but were handed a 5-10 loss at home.
Senior Jean Alford pitched the game, walking six players and striking out 12 batters. As the end of the season draws closer for the Lady Tigers, the coaching staff turns its attention to the future of their young Tiger team and the development of a new pitcher for next season.
“We have to start looking toward next year when we don’t have Alford as our pitcher,” coach Sharyl Eastlake said. “We are looking at Danielle Durden, Carson Rogers from our junior varsity squad, Barbara Rico and Brandi Huerd, who currently plays for us on third base.”
There are three games left in the Lady Tigers’ schedule and coach Eastlake said the younger varsity players have played more aggressive in their position.
“Defensively, they have gained more confidence,” she said. “When we had a loss, we learned from it so now, defensively, they are more prepared. We make less errors and you can see they are more confident in their abilities in their field positions.”
Eastlake said she has seen a lot of growth from her junior varsity squad as well.
“They have come a long way and this team will be really strong within a year or two,” she said. “We will continue to develop the three juniors and three sophomores we have on our varsity and be able to bring some of the junior varsity squad up one level. The difference being that they will have more game experience next year.”
Eastlake hopes some of her players continue to play in the recreational league during the off-season. She said it helps keep them in shape but she knows the recreational league is not enough for the Ladies to learn the fundamentals necessary to compete at the high school regional level.
“The travel teams and recreation leagues are short seasons and not enough time to get to the heart of the techniques and drills,” she said.
In their loss to Groves, Alford batted left handed, had two hits and brought in a score. Tamika Lipscomb crossed home for another score. Destiny Brewer had her first hit in a game and brought in a score.
“We did not get a lot of hits and that is something we plan to work on in practice,” Eastlake said. “They have to develop their hitting skills and learn how to move inside the plate. They need to learn to make those adjustments because there are no “perfect” strike zones. They vary from umpire to umpire and they have to learn to step up or move back or choke up on the bat,” she said.
Eastlake said having a senior player like Alford, who is a willing and patient mentor and teacher, has helped her get through the season with the younger Tigers on the squad.
“I count on Alford a lot. She is really great with the younger players,” she said.
Alford hopes softball will get her into a college in Florida and said she sets her sights on Santa Fe or the University of Florida.
“Pitching is not my number one position but for the team, I’ll continue to put my best game out there,” Alford said. “I like the infield and outfield more so than pitching and that is what I play on the traveling team I play on. I plan to market myself as a utility player for colleges,” she said. The Lady Tigers play Windsor Forest at Paulsen Stadium on Oct. 2, before returning for their last home game Oct. 4 against Johnson. That game is also seniors’ night.
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