Success brings high expectations for Lady Hounds

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 14, 2001

Despite an overall record of 8-7, the 2000 Huntington Lady Hounds slow-pitch softball team managed to finish second behind the Trinity Lady Saints in MPSA District 6-1A and ended up as the runners-up in the Class 1A State Tournament, knocking off Trinity in the process.

This year, expectations are higher as seven of last year’s starting 10 players return for what could be a breakthrough season for Huntington. Among those returning in 2001 are three juniors – left fielder Lauren Wagoner, center fielder Sylvia Moak and pitcher JoLee Hughes; a pair of sophomores – outfielder Tiffany Ferguson and catcher Randy Braleigh; and freshman second baseman Whitney Bradford.

Also returning to Huntington after a two-year absence is junior third baseman Jacqueline Randall, who played for Huntington Head Coach Linous Wilkinson as an eighth-grader in 1998, then transferred to Vidalia and played for the Lady Vikings in 1999 and 2000.

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&uot;We also picked up a good player who has never played slow-pitch before in first baseman/pitcher Emily Hazlip,&uot; Wilkinson said.

A weak link could be in the right field, as last year’s All-State selection, Tessa Taunton, gave up softball to be on the track team.

&uot;We have three players going for that spot,&uot; Wilkinson said.

This year, Huntington will play in a new district – MPSA District 5-1A against Trinity and Amite School Center.

&uot;Trinity will be our toughest district opponent,&uot; said Wilkinson. &uot;Amite’s going to be a tough ball club. We hope we win it.&uot;

As for the toughest non-district opponent, without hesitation Wilkinson said Adams County Christian School, which went 14-5 last year.

&uot;We’re going to come out with a lot of experience. Pitching hurt us last year,&uot; he said. &uot;I feel like we’ve got a good, young, strong ball club. Some of these kids still have two years left. We have some young experience.&uot;

Huntington’s season is expected to begin with a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. next Tuesday at Tensas Academy, but, as Wilkinson said, that may hinge on if Tensas can field a team this year.

If not, Huntington’s season will begin at Trinity on March 22 beginning at 4 p.m. with the varsity game to be played first followed by the junior varsity game.