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PRC softball covering all of the bases in preseason

The anticipation is building as the Pearl River Central softball team prepares for the start of the season.

For months the Lady Blue Devils have been putting in work on the diamond knowing the pace would pick up in January.

After-school practices for PRC don’t start until Jan. 27, which will give the players more time to hone their skills.

Head Coach Tony Labella said the main focus has been fielding and making sure the players understand what to do in certain situations.

The start of the new year means the players will be focused on field work normally included in the team’s daily practices.

PRC lost some key players, including three starters, to graduation.

Labella said the preseason practices have given him an idea of how the team will go about replacing those key contributors.

“I’ve seen some signs that we may be able to fill some of the voids left by graduation. We have a better idea of who is going to play there now than we did (previously),” Labella said.

Situation and technical work are two key aspects that have been used to grade the athletes’ development over the offseason.

The specific strengths and weaknesses of certain players have been analyzed and that knowledge will help Labella in determining who earns a starting role for the Lady Blue Devils.

Labella said the extra time provided by having after school practices is integral in making sure the little things get worked on.

Currently, if a player has an issue or the team is struggling with a specific drill, Labella has a limited amount of time to solve the problem or else he’ll lose the entirety of the practice.

The wiggle room provided by those longer practices is something Labella is ready to take advantage of.

“Everybody including myself is looking forward to after-school practices. Even if you don’t feel like you finish up with a drill quite right, but if school ends (then practice ends),” Labella said.

Several middle schoolers have been recruited to practice with the junior varsity and varsity squads with the hope of getting the basics covered early on.

A large senior class means there will be multiple holes to fill after this season and Labella said that getting the younger players up to the higher levels early benefits the team in the long run.

Labella said PRC’s district includes some of the best teams in the state, so having young players on the roster who are capable of stepping up in key moments could be a boon for the Lady Blue Devils.