Picayune drops slow pitch softball

Published 11:21 pm Saturday, August 11, 2012

Picayune, which has earned a reputation as one of the top slow pitch softball teams in South Mississippi over the past decade, has drooped the program.

Veteran Lady Tide softball coach Kristi Mitchell confirmed this week that the school will now focus only on fast pitch softball and no longer continue to field a slow pitch team.

“I think we all knew this would eventually happen,” Mitchell, who also coaches the fast pitch team, said. “It was kind of an agreement between myself and the administration. I just had no participation from younger kids in the slow pitch program. For the betterment of our fast pitch program and hopefully to ensure continued success in that sport I felt like we needed to drop slow pitch and just concentrate on fast pitch.”

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Picayune has had a slow pitch program for most of the past 25 years. The Lady Tide played for the state championship four times in the past seven seasons.

“Overall, we have been more successful in slow pitch, but the future is in fast pitch,” Mitchell said. “The city league programs no longer play slow pitch, it’s all fast pitch now, just like the colleges all play fast pitch. If girls are going to get softball scholarships to college, it will be in fast pitch not slow pitch.”

Picayune’s decision to drop the slow pitch program is a growing trend in South Mississippi prep circles. Picayune joins Vancleave, St. Martin, East Central and Biloxi as schools that have dropped slow pitch in the past year. And D’Iberville, Harrison Central and West Harrison are expected to drop the programs after this coming season.

“It was a very tough decision, one that I put a lot of thought into,” Mitchell concluded. “But when I look at the big picture, I felt like this was the best decision.”

The move leaves Poplarville as the only prep slowpitch team in Pearl River County.

The Lady Hornets start the season on Aug. 21.