PRC’s softball team is ready for a new year

Published 7:00 am Friday, February 16, 2018

A year after a disappointing second-round exit in the playoffs, the Pearl River Central High School softball team is preparing for what they expect will be another successful season.

Last season, the Lady Devils finished with a 20-10 overall record putting the team in first place in Region 7-5A.

Unfortunately, the team saw that season come to an end after losing against Long Beach 2-0 in a best-of-three series.

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“Just like last year and the years prior, we have high expectations. Last year, we had a really good regular season but our season ended sooner than we had hoped,” Head Coach Tony LaBella said.

Even though the Lady Devils lost three starters from last season due to graduation, seniors Alahna Lee, Madison Gower, Beth Spiers, Jade Latham and Shelby Archer will be back on the diamond for PRC once more.

“All of our seniors have been with the program since their freshman year, so they have a good idea of what they can accomplish if they focus mentally and physically,” LaBella said.

Five years ago during the 2013 spring season, the Lady Devils won a total of two games but after LaBella took over the program in 2014, PRC has won four consecutive district championships.

In the team’s district games, PRC will face Picayune, who advanced to the Class 5A championship series last season, North Pike, who won the Class 4A championship last season, and Hattiesburg.

“We have a tough district but at the same time, we have set up a difficult schedule to help us get ready for our district games,” LaBella said. “The biggest thing for us, as a team, will be to stay injury-free. Last season, we suffered some key injuries towards the end of the regular season and that hurt us later in the playoffs.”

In addition to the Lady Devil’s senior leadership, LaBella expects junior Jayden Davis to have a great season on the mound.

“She pitched a little bit for us last season but this spring she’s going to be throwing for us in a lot of innings,” LaBella said.

“She did a great job of improving during the summer and she was also named the Most Valuable Player in our summer league, which we also won.”

PRC will begin the season Saturday, Feb. 17, with the Lady Devil jamboree and will then participate in the Sumrall Tournament on Feb. 24, where the team will face Forrest County Agricultural and Magee High School.

The Lady Devils will rematch Long Beach at home March. 1.

“The group of seniors from last season and this season have done an amazing job of turning this program around and help to put it back on the map,” LaBella said. “Everyone is excited and anxious to start a new season.”