Natchez High leans on senior oufielder for enthusiasm, leadership

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 13, 2017

Natchez High School senior softball player Kateiria Noble sat on the edge of her home bench last Friday night and looked up at her fellow teammate Destinee Green like it was the last game she was ever going to play.

Going into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Lady Bulldogs were trailing 15-2.

“We need three more runs to stay in the game,” Noble said to Green. “If we get three more, we can play one more inning.”

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When it was Noble’s turn to step to the plate, NHS coach Bonita Hamilton thought about letting someone else take her spot.

“She said ‘Ms. Hamilton, I got this,’” Hamilton said.

That’s when Noble blasted a double to center field, batting in one of the three runs she so greatly hoped for. And although Natchez didn’t get the chance to play the seventh inning, Noble said her upbeat attitude is something she’s always had.

“If we play that one more inning, that means we still have a chance to win, and I know even if we don’t win, we will be ready for the next game,” she said.

Noble has experienced a lot of games, too, playing for Natchez since the seventh grade. She has competed in variety of different positions, including shortstop and in the outfield, but has started as the Lady Bulldogs’ centerfielder so far during her final year.

While Noble said she admits it can be challenging to remain in high-spirits, it makes the reward of winning much sweeter. She said her favorite victory was that over Port Gibson at home last season.

“The way they were hitting, you would have thought it was going to be a blowout,” Noble said. “The best part was our spirit. We were so amped up in the dugout, and we kept rallying.”

Though her optimistic character comes naturally, Noble said Hamilton has helped her make it better over the years.

“She always says to pick the team up and stay positive,” Noble said. “I know we have more games to go. No matter what, we are still out here together, and that makes me happy.”

Hamilton’s confidence in this season’s one of seven seniors probably doesn’t hurt Noble’s style, either.

“I know what Kateriria can do,” Hamilton said. “She’s a motivator. Whatever she wants to do as far as her career is concerned, if one thing doesn’t work out, she is going to go for something else.”

Noble said she views Natchez softball as a second home and is going to miss when there aren’t any games left to play. Yet for her, there is always tomorrow for the future.

“You will never catch me down,” Noble said.