ECHS wants to win county

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Escambia County Lady Blue Devils play in the first County Tournament Saturday.

Strong defense and steady pitching have been the keys to success for the Escambia County Lady Blue Devils this season, and with the first-ever County Softball Tournament being held this weekend at Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton, those could be the things that lead them to a county championship.

The Lady Blue Devils (11-4, 2-2) have played competitively all season, surpassing their win total from 2011 and giving themselves a chance to fight for an area title.

As they head into this weekend’s tournament, the focus will be about getting back on track after dropping four of their last six games.

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Winning the county tournament could be the boost that helps ECHS get back over the hump, Lady Blue Devils Head Softball Coach Darryl Otwell said.

“It could definitely be a booster,” he said. “We started 9-0, but have gone 2-4 in our last six games, so finding a way to win her will be important. We are still playing well, but winning a tournament like this could be a boost moving into the area tournament.”

With positives on defense and in pitching, Otwell wants the Lady Blue Devils to play the same way they have the entire season, but knows offense needs work.

In recent games, hitting has been an area of struggles after a powerful start in the first eight games.

Getting better production at the plate will be the concern at the tournament, Otwell said.

“Our main concern is just getting our bats going again,” he said. “We started the season strong with our hitting, but have fallen short recently. Our defense has been great these past couple of weeks, and Kaylee is back from her concussion, so we with her pitching well, the focus is to get better trips to the plate.”

The Lady Blue Devils have only faced one county opponent in varsity action this season. In two previous games the W.S. Neal Lady Eagles, ECHS came away with close victories.

Despite not having experience against Flomaton or T.R. Miller, Otwell said he knows what to expect from those two teams.

“Flomaton, we have not played, but I know they are playing well under their new coach,” he said. “They are already fundamentally sound and will be doing all of the right things to try and win. With T.R. Miller, we played some of their players in a junior varsity tournament, so we know to expect some good hitting from them. We will definitely need to be playing our best softball to come away with a win.”

The Escambia County Lady Blue Devils kick off the county tournament against the Flomaton Lady Hurricanes at 5:30 p.m. on Friday at JDCC in Brewton.