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Picayune softball looking forward to competition

Picayune’s Lady Maroon Tide softball team has been spending as much time as possible on the field preparing for the start of the season.

Inclement weather has made it difficult for players to spend extended time on the diamond, but the athletes are making it work.

The team will be taking part in a jamboree this weekend, which will include games against Bay High and St. Martin.

It’ll be the first taste of competitive action for the team and Head Coach Kristi Mitchell said her players are chomping at the bit to take on an opponent.

“After you’ve been in the cages for awhile and scrimmaging each other you’re looking for another comparison. We’re excited to play somebody other than ourselves,” Mitchell said.

A focus in the offseason was not only improving each player’s strength and conditioning, but also getting faster on the base paths.

Having speedy base runners adds an extra layer to the Lady Maroon Tide’s offense and gives Mitchell another way to be aggressive during games.

It’s still up in the air to see how the team’s speed translates to actual competitions, but Mitchell is hopeful her team’s progress proves beneficial at the start of the season.

“Yeah we’ve seen an increase in our speed and hope to use that a little more this season. We have a little more experience and obviously experience in those areas will help us a well,” Mitchell said.

Right now there are still several players missing from the team as they fulfill other athletic responsibilities.

However, that hasn’t stopped the squad from putting in work on the field, while still maintaining the strength built up from offseason workouts.

“Right now in the weight room we’re trying to maintain the strength we’ve developed. Especially for pitchers and catchers, we want them to be able to go 14 innings,” Mitchell said.

Time is running out before Picayune’s first competitive game takes place, so these last few days of practice will be about taking care of the little things.

Mitchell is trying to get her players as many reps as possible in their respective positions to prepare them for the grind of softball season.

There are some positions that haven’t quite been nailed down yet, so Mitchell will use these final practices and the jamboree to determine each player’s best fit on the team.

“Right now we’re going to try and get as many kids as much playing time as possible. Some are still trying to find their role on the team,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell has held her team to high standards in the past and this season will be no different.

The team has the talent and experience to make a deep playoff run, but even advancing past the first round isn’t good enough for Mitchell.

“My expectations are the same as they are every season, the top goal is to get to the state championship.”

“We’ve set some individual and team goals that we hope will help us reach those season goals as well,” Mitchell said.