Franklin County leans on returnees

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 8, 2001

Franklin County High slow-pitch softball coach Leonide Sullivan had a little bit of a tough time in her first year as coach. Her Bulldogs only won two games.

&uot;We really struggled last year,&uot; said Sullivan. &uot;We had a lot of inexperienced players. A lot of girls who hadn’t played before.&uot;

Adding to her troubles last year was the loss of five starters from the 1999 squad.

Fast-forward to this season and Sullivan is feeling a lot better about her team’s chances, despite only three returning players.

But it’s those three players – seniors Christy Day, Charlsey McGalliard and junior Katie Johnson – that Sullivan hopes will lead the Bulldogs to more victories. Sullivan and assistant coach Roger Ratcliffe will count on them to provide leadership.

&uot;We talked to them about that, being team leaders,&uot; Sullivan said. &uot;(We talked to them about) taking charge and encouraging the girls.

They were strong players for us last year, and we look for them to be even better this year.&uot;

And their attitudes are funneling down to the younger players, Sullivan said. She notices a more upbeat attitude among the players in practice.

&uot;The girls have a good team spirit. And that should turn into a lot of wins,&uot; Sullivan said.

Franklin County’s two wins last year came at an important time last year, though. The Bulldogs beat two district foes near the end of the season.

Sullivan expects her club to do even more damage in districts this year.

Sullivan said one thing that should benefit the team is the addition of several players from Franklin County’s new fast-pitch league and some players that used to only play fast-pitch softball.

The teams in Franklin County’s district are Wilkinson County, Hazelhurst, Amite County and North Pike.

The Bulldogs will host a &uot;fun&uot; tournament this Saturday, with Cathedral, Natchez and South Pike as participants.