Schools prep for softball season

Published 9:25 pm Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Players and coaches across the area have started preparing for this year’s softball season, which is now less than a week away.

Last year the Lady Blue Devils of Escambia County High School made regionals for the first time and coach Daryl Otwell would like to build on that success.

“We set our goals high this year,” said the third-year coach. “We’d like to get to where we were last year. We’d like to make the state tournament.”

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ECHS has seven starters returning including sophomore everyday pitcher Kaylee Cox, who went 15-9 last year. Taylor Hill will be back at third base while Tristen Boothe will be starting at shortstop.

ECHS opens its season on Thursday, Feb. 21 at Monroe County at 5 p.m.

Northview High School plays Friday at Chipley and coach Amy Holland is expecting a good season.

“I think we have a pretty solid team,” she said.

Holland said the team should have strong pitching with senior Misty Duran and sophomore Mallory Ryan splitting time in the circle.

“We probably have some of the best pitching in the area,” she said.

Escambia Academy first-year softball coach David Williams is impressed with the athleticism he’s seen from his players so far.

“I haven’t had my whole varsity team out because half the team plays basketball,” Williams said. “We’ve got some good athletes coming out. I’m looking for us to be pretty good.”

Williams expects big seasons from seniors pitcher Hallie Brooks, second baseman Hannah Fountain and third baseman Chelsea Ramer. A big season is also expected from junior Lacie Flowers at shortstop and freshman pitcher Autumn Corley.

“I’m expecting a pretty good season,” Williams said. “That’s what I’m hoping for. Our goal is to make it to the final four.”

The Lady Cougars open the season on Thursday, Feb. 21 against Atmore Christian School.

Atmore Christian School should benefit from an experienced infield and solid pitching this season, said coach Tim Battles.

“We should be able to control the game in the circle,” he said.

Junior pitcher Karrie Hillburn and sophomore Grace Kilkrease will be splitting time in the circle this season.

Battles said the team should have a solid lineup of hitters, who should be able to keep the ball in play a year after the team went to the final four of the Panhandle Christian Conference.