After losing just five games total and just two games in district last season the Alba-Golden Lady Panthers softball team will look to repeat as district champs in 2018.
While their season got off to a bit of rough start as the Lady Panthers lost 16-1 against the Rains Lady Wildcats last Tuesday, second year Head Coach Tiffani Mason still believes her team will be in contention for the district crown.
“We are young. We have three freshmen in the starting lineup and the returners I do have are playing new positions but we still have the same competitiveness as last year. (Our long term goal will be the same) to win another district championship,” Mason said via email last week.
While the team will be younger their biggest strengths are expected to be their overall hitting power and speed on the base pads.
“Our hitting could be our biggest strength. We have some big hitters but we also have speed that comes with those big bats,” Mason said.
The biggest concern for the Lady Panthers this year will be their ability to defend. Because of the consistent amount of rain coming in and out of the Wood County area, Mason’s team has been somewhat limited in their ability to work on their defense.
“Defense (will need to improve as the season progresses) with all the rain and many of my varsity (players) being in playoffs for basketball we’ve had only two practices on a field. You can only get so much done in a gym,” Mason said.
Although the Lady Panthers won the district last season they are very aware of the up-and-coming teams that they’ll have to contend with this year.
“Mineola and Grand Saline are always competitive teams but Quitman has improved and I believe will win some games this year,” Mason said.
This season the Lady Panthers will need a collective effort from multiple players to be successful. Some of those players include, Lindsey Roberts, one of the team’s only senior, who will be a big producer this season. She will play an important role not only at third base but as the team’s leadoff batter. Bralee Littlejohn helped the team to a district championship last year at the plate as the three hole hitter and Ashlyn Rogers will have to do some pitching for her team this year but when she’s not on the mound her speed will be on display in the outfield as the team’s centerfielder. Macie Pendergrass will also be a big contributor on offense as a consistent hitter.
The Lady Panthers next game is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Kemp High School.