Franklin County softball ready to play

Published 12:30 am Thursday, July 5, 2007

MEADVILLE — If practice makes perfect then the Franklin County Dixie Girls should be one of the top teams in the Dixie Youth fast pitch softball State Tournament this week.

Opening ceremonies begin Friday night as do bracket drawings at the Brookhaven Sports Complex.

The double elimination tournament will last through Friday, and Franklin’s Dixie Girls will serve as tournament hosts of the 8-team field.

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“We’ve been having practice as much as possible,” said FC Dixie Girls coach Pam Rushing. “I hope we come ready to play Saturday.”

The FC Dixie Girls are made up of 12 young ladies ranging from the ages of 13-15. The team has had several practices over the last few weeks, including a day/night practice session on Tuesday and a holiday practice drill Wednesday on the Fourth of July.

Hitting and pitching maneuvers have been the virtue to every practice session for Rushing, who is assisted by Christi Thornton and Melissa Crosby. Keeping the team focused has also been a big duty, which the three coaches have carried out quite well.

“When something’s not going right we run laps,” said Rushing. “Every team in this tournament is going to be good. We have to be ready.”

A State title is the ultimate goal, and a reachable one. Carthage and Mize are the early favorites in the Dixie Girls tournament field.

Making up the FC Dixie Girls roster will be Karlee Mullins (2B/OF), KeKe Collins (1B/3B), Diamond Newman (IF/OF), Haley Crosby (IF/OF), Rachel Dier (Pitcher), Allison Hauer (IF/OF), Heidi Thornton (Pitcher/IF), Courtney Reid (Catcher/IF), Tammy Alexander (IF/OF), Vandriana Norman (IF/OF), Shelby Lofton (Pitcher/IF), and Vintrice Briggs (IF/OF).

Heidi Thornton (14-years old) will serve as the team’s number one pitcher. She has five different pitches she can throw. Courtney Reid

(15-years old) will serve as the elder statesmen in the group and as the team’s most versatile player. Strong defensive support will be provided by Karlee Mullins, Vintrice Briggs, and KeKe Collins.

Two other Franklin County teams in different tournament age divisions will also take part in the week-long State Tournament.

The 11-12 year FC All-Stars will be made up of Kim McDowell, Siedriq Middleton, Trynise McKnight, Latoya Griffin, Brianna Grayson, Sarah Clanton, Jordan King, Sarah Case, Alex Farrell, and DeAnna Cothren.

Coaching the team will be Michael Middleton and Kevin Crosby.

As for the 7-8 year old FC All-Stars, the team will consist of Montana Lofton, Brandi O’Neal, Scarlett Zumbro, Emily Strittman, Tyneisha Anderson, Tainya Robinson, Hunter White, Noel Parker, Morgan Rushing, and Kenyatta Griffin.

Cody Stewart and Randy Atkins will serve as coaches of the 7-8 year olds.