Ferriday Gators, Fear see success in summer

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, July 1, 2015

FERRIDAY — Despite high school softball season’s being over, many local players continued to develop their game on two summer league softball teams, the Ferriday Fear and the Ferriday Gators.

The Gators, who are heading into the state tournament, have posted a 13-0-1 record so far this summer, and head coach Rut Horne said he has been pleased with the team’s performance.

“We’ve had a good summer,” Horne said. “We had the first twelve games rained out and I thought we would never get one in, but so far its been good.”

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Horne said he knew this team was going to be something special, mainly because of the amount of options he has in the circle.

“This year’s team is a little different than ones in the past because of our depth in pitching,” Horne said. “In Dixie, you have to have a minimum of three pitchers for a tournament and this year we have at least six or seven that you could put in at any time. I think we pitched five different pitchers and gave up one hit in the district tournament.”

The Gators cruised in the tournament and easily won 15-0 in their first game and 18-0 in their second game.

Horne said one thing he has particularly enjoyed about summer softball is a chance for the team to get more work done individually.

“I feel this is where they get a chance to learn,” he said. “In the school season, it is pretty much practice is playing. You don’t have a lot of individual time. Most schools have 15-20 kids on a team and here we’ve only got 12.”

If the Gators were to advance past the state tournament scheduled for July 18, they would move on to the World Series, which will take place in Monroe, La., on July 31.

While their record may not show it, Fear head coach Jeannie Beach said her team had a great summer experience.

Despite finishing 3-15, Beach said the team was able to gain some quality playing time.

“This is vital to compete and play year round because you just about have to these days because everybody else is,” Beach said. “You want the nucleus of your team to stay together.”

Beach’s team, which was made up of primarily Delta Charter School softball players, was forced to compete against some of the best in the area, something Beach said will only benefit them.

“We don’t have another team from here in our age group, so we had to play the older teams,” Beach said. “We played a team with girls who had already graduated and we played a travel team with girls who were playing in college, so we saw a lot of good pitching.”

And for the team, that meant they were only going to get better.

“This summer was a success because each girl improved,” Beach said. “Them getting the opportunity to do this just boosted their confidence.”