Softball season starts

Published 1:50 am Sunday, August 14, 2011

Yet another prep slow pith softball season kicks off this week, and both perennial playoff powers Picayune and Poplarville are once again looking to enjoy successful campaigns.

Poplarville won the Class 4A state championship two years ago, and Picayune has played for the state title twice in the past six seasons including last year.

The teams will face off on Thursday, in the opening game of the Playin’ for Laken Memorial Tournament at Friendship Park at 7 p.m.

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Before that, however, The Lady Tide will get things started with a bang on Monday when they travel to Long Beach to open the season with a Region encounter.

“It’s the first time in 19 years that we have started the season with a district game,” veteran Picayune head coach Kristi Mitchell said. “because of some new travel restraints we have this year it took us a while to finalize the schedule, and this isĀ  just how it is.”

Mitchell will count on key returning players like pitcher Sarah Dodd and solid hitters Brooke Ladner, Jennifer Walker,Bethany Crawford, Jessica Rancifer and Tee Myers, just to name a few.

The Lady Tide will join LBHS, Moss Point, West Harrison and East Central to form the region.

Poplarville’s first game of the season will be Thursday’s contest against the Lady Tide. The Lady Hornets join Vancleave, Forrest County AHS and Greene County in Region 8-4A.

Lady Hornets head coach Jonathan Ray returns eight starters from the defending league champions. Included in that group is ace pitcher Sam Gentry, along with leading hitters Micah Davis, Ashton Rogers and Miranda Fazande as well as Summer Smith.

“I feel good about our chances of defending the district title,” Ray said. “we should be better because we have just about everybody back, and I hope that experience pays off.”

After Thursday’s game, both Picayune and PoplarvilleĀ  will see action again on Saturday in the “Playin’ for Laken” event on Saturday.