Slow-pitch season getting off to fast start Saturday

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 4, 2000

The local slow-pitch softball season seems to start earlier and earlier each year.

The 2000 installment begins Saturday nine days before school starts with St. Aloysius, Vicksburg and Warren Central playing in the preseason jamboree.

Records will count in the overall standings, but will not count against division records when Vicksburg plays Warren Central and St. Aloysius plays the fourth tournament team, Madison-St. Joseph.

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All games will be played at Warren Central. Admission is $4.

Teams are allowed to play a maximum of 14 innings in the jamboree. Warren Central coach Lucy Young said teams will play two five-inning games, then play a four-inning game in the final.

“You get to play a variety of teams and everybody gets a taste of what each other has,” said Young, who has hosted the tournament for six years. “It’s very beneficial for the coaches.”

All three schools are coming off their inaugural fast-pitch seasons in the spring and are adjusting back to slow-pitch.

“The basics are the same, but there are a few differences,” said St. Al coach Gene Rogilio, who has led the Lady Flashes to the playoffs the past three seasons. “Slow-pitch is much more of a hitting game.”

The Lady Flashes, who finished 20-8, will have to deal with the loss of Lisa Cox, a four-year starting pitcher. Sophomore Allison Hearn, who shined on the fast-pitch mound, will get most of the pitching duties.

At Vicksburg, second-year coach Josh Harper is trying to deal with sagging numbers. With several of his players from last year skipping to concentrate on other sports, Harper is searching for the right combinations.

“I’m not going to delve away from my expectations of winning a state championship right away,” Harper said. “But it’s a little discouraging right off the bat to have these situations.”

Dana Daigre, who led the team in hitting in the spring, returns to solidify the offense. Emily Mathes, the Vicksburg Post Player of the Year in fast-pitch, is recovering from an injury and should be able to return.

Harper looks at his team’s amount of playing time as a plus heading into a 30-game schedule, including tough division games against Warren Central and Greenville.

“We have several girls that have not stopped playing softball since last year at this time,” said Harper, who led his team to a 15-15 record and a spot on the Class 5A playoffs a season ago.

“That’s a key for us. We will have to rely on them to get us going.”

Young will rely on a good turnout 23 players on the roster but only one senior and six juniors.

“The attitudes have been very good,” Young said. “There is a lot of excitement.”

The Lady Vikes, who finished 11-12 last year, will be without catcher Katie Barnett for the first two weeks of the year. She is at a softball showcase in Australia, but overall, the Lady Vikes come into the season healthy.

“This is a great way to get the season started,” Young said.