Ferriday Fear girls stick together
NATCHEZ — Jeanie Beach said she felt it necessary to give a group of girls the opportunity to continue playing together after the school year ended.
So Beach decided to pick up coaching the ages 13-15 Dixie Girls Softball Ferriday Fear squad, a team made up mostly of Vidalia Junior High School players.
Beach, whose stepdaughter, Darby Beach, is among the girls she coaches, said she was happy to help extend their softball season into the summer months.
“We wanted to keep them together and try to step their game up a bit and let them see better competition in Dixie Youth,” Beach said.
Beach said getting the summer work in would only pay off down the road as the girls continue to play together.
“It’s going to make you better playing better people,” she said. “I think you always play up to the level of competition (you’re playing against).”
The squad also includes two girls from Monterey, but since most of the girls will be playing in the Vidalia schools for the next several years, Beach said being around each other more will pay off later in their prep careers.
“You have to learn each other, and you have to be able to communicate,” Beach said. “I’ve been on teams where we beat the other girls, not because we were more athletic, but because our team had played together longer and knew what each other would do.”
Fourteen-year-old Maecee Thornton also said time spent around familiar faces was helpful for their futures as softball players.
“You learn people — how they react, what they can do and what they can’t do,” Thornton said.
At the same time, Thornton said playing with the same girls over and over makes things testy sometimes.
“It just depends on the day,” she said. “Sometimes it’s great, and other times not so much.”
Skylar Bolyer, 11, said there are advantages to playing with the same group of girls she played with during the school year.
“We work together easier than other people, and we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and we can help each other (through our weaknesses),” Bolyer said.
Darby Beach, 13, said she enjoys being coached by her stepmom — for the most part.
“If I forget stuff, she’s there to help me, but she pushes me harder than anyone else, and I get yelled at the most,” Beach said.
It’s also important to play softball outside of spring while school is still in session, Darby Beach said.
“If you just play during the school year and stop, you’ll lose things you learned,” Darby Beach said. “It gets you better and prepares you for next year.”
The competition may be tougher on paper in Dixie Youth, but Bolyer said she personally finds things to be easier in summer ball.
“I have really good teammates, and we get along better,” Bolyer said.