Gators ready for state tourney

Published 12:43 am Saturday, July 14, 2012

ferriday — Monterey’s Ellen Bairnsfather is headed to Louisiana State University in Alexandria to continue her softball career this fall.

But she still has plenty of softball goals left to accomplish before heading to LSU-A.

Bairnsfather is a second baseman and pitcher for the Ferriday Gators Dixie Debs softball team, and she and her squad will head to Ponchatoula, La., today to take aim at a state championship.

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“We’ve done pretty exceptional this year,” Bairnsfather said. “We almost got beat out, but the last three our four years we’ve always come out of the loser’s bracket, and we knew we could come back.”

The Gators dropped a game to Winnsboro, La., in the District 5 tournament but came back to defeat that same team twice to capture the district crown.

The Gators will face Alexandria, La., to open the state tournament at 10 a.m. today. Head coach Rut Horne said Alexandria is a team Ferriday has a lot of experience playing.

“We’ve played them four times already,” Horne said. “We know what to expect from them, and they are due to beat us.”

Horne said the Gators are 3-0-1 this season against Alexandria.

Horne said his team is strong defensively and has a great pitching staff.

“We’ve done a really good job holding people down,” he said. “We don’t walk a lot of people and when they put the ball on the ground we only miss about two out of 50.”

Bairnsfather said the Gators have an experienced team going into the state tournament this year.

“We’re a year older, and it’s been the same seven of us (on the team) for four or five years,” she said.

If the gators can win the state tournament they will advance to the Dixie Youth World Series in Virginia. It would be the third time the core-group of Gators have advanced to the World Series, Horne said.

“It’s doable,” he said. “We have to be on hitting the ball is one thing, because we have tons of speed.”