Father and daughter duo practice ball together

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 13, 2008

NATCHEZ — Robert Buie winds up and releases the pitch. A loud crack follows as his 16-year-old daughter Desiree Buie hammers a shot down the left field line.

When The Dart landed on Duncan Park Sunday, Robert and his daughter were having batting practice, helping to get her ready for fast-pitch softball season.

And although Robert is more physically imposing than most of the pitchers Desiree will face this season, he cannot match their speed.

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“That was my fast ball and that’s probably about as fast as their change up,” Robert said.

However, the practice is still a big help, especially since slow pitch softball season just ended for Franklin County.

“We’re trying to get back into fast pitch,” Robert said. “(Slow pitch) is good for the kids coming up learning, but once they get to the older stages, (fast pitch) is where they need to go.

South Lauderdale knocked the Lady Bulldogs out of the slow-pitch softball playoffs Saturday.

“I would do fielding (practice), but I probably got enough of that yesterday,” Desiree said.

The few months left in 2008 are the only break that Desiree will take from competitive softball, but she will keep practicing. In addition to slow-pitch and fast-pitch teams for Franklin County, she plays with the Ferriday Gators Dixie Belles team.

“I play all year round and take a break now, but I still work in the winter time,” she said. “It’s hard to make myself take a break, especially since its getting toward my last year.”

And Desiree knows she has a lot of work to do if she wants to reach the goal she has had since she was a child.

While watching the LSU softball team on TV, “she walked up to me when she was 4 years old and said, ‘Daddy, you’re going to see me on there,’” Robert said.

But batting practice is about more than just softball for the family.

“I enjoy spending the time with her,” Robert said. “That means more to me than anything.”