Lady Devils boast veteran leadership
Published 3:41 pm Monday, February 16, 2009
By By Chandler Myers
Basketballs have been put into storage for spring, and bats and gloves have been pulled out and dusted off as the 2009 baseball and softball seasons are set to begin.
The Escambia County Lady Blue Devils softball team begins play Monday with a trip to Mobile to face off against the LeFlore Lady Rattlers.
With three weeks of practice under their belts, the Lady Blue Devils look to improve on last year’s good season and compete for the area title in their first year playing in Class 5A.
Lady Blue Devils head coach William Casaday said the move up in classification will be tough and should prove how strong his team is.
ECHS’s schedule is full of top tier teams, and should pose a challenge for a team trying to make the playoffs.
The area should be interesting as the Lady Blue Devils have to face off against the Lady Dolphins of Gulf Shores and the Spanish Fort Lady Toros both of which finished last season in the Top 10.
Casaday said the goal for the Lady Blue Devils is to prove their worth and make it to the state playoffs. He added that with a schedule stacked like theirs that is going to be tough.
The strength for the Lady Blue Devils is how intact the team returns from last year.
Six starting juniors return this season as seniors with the exception of Courtney English who is sitting out the season to focus on basketball.
Casaday said with so many role players back there should be plenty of leadership on the field.
That leadership starts with several members of the Atmore Advance’s All-Area team taking the field.
ECHS returns All-Area pitcher Raven Culliver, All-Area catcher Brooke Bell and All-Area Player of the Year Latesha Lee.
Casaday said the return of three strong players like these really brings the team together.
Areas of weakness on the field are overcome because of one of the better strengths.
Casaday said that Cha’Nae Lyles is taking over in right field for the first time, but should make up for inexperience with her speed. He added that speed is one of the great things helping ECHS.
The main weakness facing ECHS is when they are in the batter’s box.
Casaday said the Lady Blue Devils have to stop taking so many strikes on the final pitch.
The Lady Blue Devils throw out the first pitch Monday afternoon at 5 p.m. at LeFlore.