Picayune softball athletes trying to improve at home during suspended season

Published 4:40 pm Friday, March 20, 2020

Picayune’s Lady Maroon Tide softball team took on Harrison Central March 12 and lost 10-0.

It was the team’s final game before the Mississippi High School Activities Association suspended all athletic activities until March 29.

Head Coach Kristi Mitchell said weather played a big part in hampering the team’s rhythm prior to the suspension of play.

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However, progress was made defensively for the Lady Maroon Tide as players adapted to their positions.

“We haven’t gotten into our groove yet, but I do think we’ve been improving and getting better, especially defensively. They’ve been getting more comfortable and taking ownership,” Mitchell said.

Picayune was scheduled to play three games this week, twice against Harrison Central along with a game against Greene County.

Mitchell said those matchups would’ve pitted the Lady Maroon Tide against some stiff competition to help prepare them for district games.

“We had quality teams to play that I felt would help us improve. They’d help point out weaknesses so you can correct those things before district,” Mitchell said.

Those matchups won’t occur now because of the suspension.

Mitchell said she let her players know that the suspension of games was beyond their control.

Since season hasn’t been canceled, there’s a chance Picayune will be able to get back out on the diamond before the end of the school year.

Either way, Mitchell said softball takes a back seat in times like these.

“The most important thing now is their safety and the safety of their families. What we have to do is pause for a little bit and see what comes up,” Mitchell said.

There are four seniors on the squad for Picayune and Mitchell said the suspension was upsetting for some of the players.

Veterans may have played their final game without realizing it, but Mitchell said she’s having her players to stay sharp during the suspension either way.

“Hopefully that’s not the case, but I told them to make good decisions and work on softball skills on their own. Skill development has not been canceled,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said the athletes could spend time with their family while playing softball in the yard.

Any kind of work will help the athletes maintain their skills during the suspension, while also allowing players to spend time with the people they love.

“A little backyard ball is a good thing. Obviously that’ll take a lot of self-discipline and those who have that inner drive will do that on their own,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said this is a good opportunity for the athletes to realize what’s important to them.

If and when the season was to start back up again, Mitchell said people would see a new spark in her players, along with students throughout the county.

“Many times I’ve told this team never take for granted the opportunity to get on the field to play. I believe you’ll see a different type of energy from every kid in every aspect. You realize when something is taken from you how important it is,” Mitchell said.