Webster Parish schools look for success
The 2012 LHSAA softball season is underway, and the four Webster Parish schools are all looking for successful seasons.
Minden High, Lakeside and Doyline all have a number of returning players from last year, and North Webster has an advantage of having a mix of players from the former high schools of Springhill, Cotton Valley Sarepta and Shongaloo.
"This is the first season for us," North Webster Lady Knights head coach Tony Mullins said. "We had 60 students come out at the beginning of the school year, and we have 18 girls on the varsity squad."
Mullins has high hopes for his team this year.
"We would like to make the playoffs in our first season and qualify for a home game in the first round," he said. "We have a tough district with three-time defending state champion Evangel as the team to beat. Calvary, North Caddo, and Mansfield are also in our district."
North Webster's top players figure to be junior catcher Alexis Kerry and freshman pitcher Amberlee Nix.
Minden Lady Tider coach Todd Patterson is also hopeful as the season begins.
"As any other coach, my expectations are always high," he said. "I feel that with the experience my starters have received over the last couple of years that we can have a good year."
The Lady Tiders have a number of returning players and have added a couple from outside the program.
"I'm returning two seniors to the infield, Katlyn Watson and Timberli Allen who provide me an anchor on the corners of the infield," Patterson said. "We picked up two seniors from Shongaloo (Laci Roberts and Laura Faulk) who have solidified my middle infield. Most of my juniors saw a lot of playing time the last two years and I look for them to step up again this year. This is the most experienced team I've ever fielded while I've been here at Minden High."
The Lady Tiders district make up has changed, as Parkway and Haughton moved up to 5A and Bossier moved down to 3A.
"We still have to contend with Benton and now we have Northwood, Woodlawn, Fair Park, and Huntington," Patterson said. "I feel like we can play with most of the teams in our district and one of our goals this year is to be in contention for a district championship."
The Doyline Lady Panthers will have four returning seniors for head coach Kevin Lewis this season, pitcher Amber Culpepper, catcher Andrea Walker, shortstop Megan Long and second baseman Clair Cammack.
"Amber and Andrea had the two highest batting averages last year and looking for them to have a great year this year also," Lewis said. " Megan Long has one of the strongest arms on the team and Clair Cammack has the ability to stand out on the field this year also."
Lewis believes this could be a breakthrough season for the Lady Panthers
"I am expecting a really good year this year," he said. "I have the maturity of the seniors which I think will help keep the team focused because the rest are sophomores and freshman. Even though I have the four seniors I still say we have a young team."
Lewis is looking for a tough district schedule for the Lady Panthers.
"Our district is going to be tough this year," he said. "Quitman, Castor, and Weston are always tough games because we play pretty evenly. But I am hopeful we will come out on top this year in our district and even move on to the finals."
The Lakeside Lady Warriors return only one senior this season, but she's a good one. Madison Winkle an All-District pitcher from last team will lead the Lakeside pitching staff.
"Juniors Jennifer Smart, Ashley Hawkins, & Paige Osborn are also returning starters," Lady Warrior head coach Gary Cooper said. "Emily Robinson is a freshman that started as an eighth grader last year. Kim Coleman started as a seventh grader last year and will start at shortstop this year."
Cooper hopes his young team will come together during their early season schedule.
"We're pretty young and inexperieced right now," he said. "So i hope we improve as the year goes and we can compete against Homer, Sterlington and Jonesboro-Hodge once the district games come around."