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Tiger softball starts Saturday
Tiger pitcher Barbara Rego warms up as the Lady Tigers' practice base running drills during their practice. They start their season tomorrow at the Paulson Tournament in Savannah. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
The Bradwell Institute Lady Tigers take the softball field to open the season at the Paulson Tournament tomorrow at 10 a.m., in Savannah. With an experienced group of returning players head coach Sharyl Eastlake and assistant coach Jeff Eastlake think they have the talent to take the team to the next level.
"We are steps ahead of last year with the conditioning we've done and with the girls we have returning," Jeff Eastlake said. "Last year we only had one pitcher this year we have six. We have younger pitchers right now, which is excellent because they know what they are doing. We have one senior on our squad again this year, which is Kelsey Rogers and she is on our starting roster to play. But we have a crew of juniors and freshmen coming in. We do have a couple of sophomore but we are mainly juniors and freshmen. I think we should make state this year. That's the way I feel. I feel we should make state every year."
Sharyl Eastlake echoes the sentiment saying everybody is a year smarter and more experienced.
"I think the girls are excited," Sharyl Eastlake said. "We have a lot of veteran players on the team and they know that they have worked a lot harder this year and are better prepared than they were last year. The team is older even though we only have one senior, we have a lot of juniors and they have been there before, they know the teams. They know what to expect and they are ready for the competition."
The head coach said 46 girls came out for one or more days of summer conditioning. She said she does miss the senior leadership she had last season from Jena Alford but many of the other returning players have stepped up and are taking control of the younger squad participants.
"Danielle Jacobs and Brandi Huerd are doing a great job in leading the team," she said. "They really stepped up, they have the girls out there and ready to go at 4 p.m. and I don't have to say a word. They have learned to be more independent and that makes coaching a lot easier."
Huerd, and freshmen Karson Rogers and Barbara Rego will take turns on the mound. Jacobs will start behind the plate. The Tigers outfielders are all returning starters.
Eastlake said she was able to watch the players develop over the summer while many played for the Liberty County Recreation Department. The LCRD let the junior girls use the Tigers' field giving the coaches an opportunity to eye their talent and evaluate their players needs. She said she appreciated the LCRD for keeping the field in great shape saying it keeps the girls motivated.
The lone senior and centerfielder, Kelsey Rogers, said  he does feel a little pressure.
"I feel like I have to step up, take charge and help the younger players," she said. "Keep them up."
But Jeff Eastlake said with all the returning players the team is looking up.
"The veteran players have stepped up to the plate and gelled with the younger players," Sharyl Eastlake said. "Most days when you are out here you can't tell the difference between an eighth grader or a junior. I'm excited to see them in action Saturday."
Paulson schedule
10 a.m. Lady Panthers play Richmond Hill
11:50 Lady Panthers play McIntosh
4 p.m. bracket play.

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