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Poplarville softball getting ready for game speed

The Poplarville Lady Hornets softball team is closing in on its first game of the season.

Monday night the team had its gold and green game, which is essentially an intra-squad scrimmage meant to imitate a game environment.

Following the scrimmage, the first game of the regular season for the Lady Hornets will be against the Bay Tigers on Feb. 20.

Head Coach Jonathan Ray said the team’s recent practices have been focused on determining players’ positions and whether they’ll be on varsity or junior varsity.

“We’ve gotten into preparing for games. It’s just been about roster management and getting ready to play,” Ray said.

Poplarville has a number of returning starters and a decent sized senior class.

The experience offered by the older players has kept the younger players focused during practice.

Now that there’s only a couple days before the start of the season it’s imperative the Lady Hornets get as much as possible out of each practice.

“They know what’s at stake. We have a lot of returning starters, so they know what to do. We have really good upperclassmen and they invest in those younger players,” Ray said.

Getting “live” action, which entails replicating the intensity and speed of a game, has been a priority for the Lady Hornets.

The start of the season is closing in, so Poplarville is doing everything it can to prepare.

It’s impossible to perfectly imitate a game’s intensity, but upping the ante and energy can help a team get ready for competitive play.

“We put everything we’re practicing into game speed.

You just want to be able to play at game speed with emotion and adrenaline,” Ray said. Last year West Lauderdale knocked the Lady Hornets out of the first round of the playoffs.

The team finished with an overall record of 11-13 while going 6-4 in district play.

The third place finish in district last year will be something the Lady Hornets look to improve upon this season.

Ray said his team will be pretty good in all phases of the game and if the players don’t beat themselves, then the team will have the talent to compete with anyone.

“Our goal is the region championship, then get to the south state championship to have an opportunity to play for a state championship. We can definitely be competitive and compete for our region championship,” Ray said.

The Lady Hornets’ game against Bay will be an away matchup and will start at 6:30 p.m.