AC’s Boyd part of select team seeking two titles

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 26, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; When school lets out and the temperatures really start rising, April Boyd does her annual switch.

Off goes the blue Adams Christian softball jersey for the orange Margo’s Cargo version as a member of a select slow-pitch softball team that’s been a force to be reckoned with every summer since she joined.

After first joining the program five years ago, the senior-to-be at AC is hoping to finish out a summer like none other &045; one where the 16-and-under Margo’s Cargo can pull a sweep of titles in both NSA and USSSA.

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The Jackson-based Cargo &045; Boyd is the only member from Natchez and southwest Mississippi &045; will go for a USSSA title at the World Series in Moore, Okla., starting Thursday morning.

&uot;I had played against them when I was 10 years old, and they had called me up one summer to go to world with them,&uot; Boyd said. &uot;After that, I started going with them. We’re all real close. It’s the closest team I’ve ever been on. Nobody fights or anything like that. We always play as a team. There’s no playing for yourself.&uot;

That’s been the mentality of sorts for the team this summer, and it’s partly due to its No. 1 ranking in the latest USSSA power ranking. The Cargo qualified for the tournament after winning every USSSA tournament it played in but one (finished second in that one), and it won the NSA championship in Knoxville, Tenn., back on July 13.

That success, however, is just part of the history of the Margo’s Cargo program.

&uot;When April played with the Natchez Bombers, it seemed like they always played a team Margo’s Cargo,&uot; said April’s father, Kenny Boyd. &uot;I thought it was a trucking company. They take great care of these kids, I’ll tell you. It’s a great organization. They asked if they could take April with them to world, and I knew they would take care of her. We’ve been with them ever since.&uot;

Boyd starts at shortstop and hits third for a team that is 15-4 in its class so far this season and beat the Sandy Plains (Ga.) Stealth in the finals for the NSA world tournament. Boyd hit .780 for the highest batting average among anyone at the tournament.

The Cargo lost the first game, 12-9, before hammering the Stealth 14-1 for the title.

&uot;She probably all year long hasn’t made two errors,&uot; Cargo head coach Pam Dear said. &uot;She’s done a fantastic job for us.&uot;

Boyd is part of a lineup that’s got plenty of firepower as she hits in front of slugger Lindsey Smith of Philadelphia. Even though the team lost a number of players from last year’s squad that won the NSA and lost in the USSSA tournament, the lineup hasn’t really lost a step.

The team has had occupied the top spot in the power rating all season, and it picked up two girls from Picayune this week since the starting third baseman can’t make the trip.

&uot;They know each other so well and get along so well,&uot; Dear said. &uot;Last year we lost three girls who were older, but we’ve got more of an older team. I think there are three girls playing 15 or 16, and the rest are 17. We’re a stronger hitting team than we’ve ever been. Usually with an older team you’ll have stronger girls, and we definitely have an older team this year.&uot;

The team leaves late tonight en route for the tournament that could feature up to 20 teams once everything is finalized. The team is also trying to do something that’s never been done before &045; win both the NSA and USSSA titles in the same season.

&uot;This is the big one,&uot; April Boyd said of the USSSA tourney. &uot;As far as coach knows, nobody has ever won world back to back. If we go up there and play to our potential, then we should win it. And we want to because we want to be the first to win both of them.&uot;

That may be possible since the team has been together for so long.

&uot;They will have more teams there,&uot; Dear said. &uot;More people play USSSA than any other. The main thing my girls do is have

a good time when they play, and that makes them play better. At this age some girls will drop off, but we’ve really got a group of girls who love to play softball.&uot;