Another year, another coach at Vicksburg

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 12, 2002

[08/12/02]The Vicksburg High slow-pitch softball season is underway, and in keeping with the trend over the past four years, the Missy Gators will open the season with a new coach.

Laquitta Smith will take the reins of the Missy Gators and put to rest a merry-go-round of coaching changes within the school’s softball program.

“We really didn’t have any real coaches that knew what they were doing,” said Kelsey Hudson, a senior who has played under three different coaches in four years. “But I think we’re going to do OK this year with coach Smith.”

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Smith’s presence will bring a breath of fresh air to a team that has not experienced much stability or experience in the coaching ranks, said Jamie Creel, assistant slow-pitch coach and VHS’ baseball coach.

“She’s brought some innovative and new things into this program that’s going to be beneficial for years to come,” he said. “So I’m looking forward to it, it’s a big change from what we have done. Lot more fundamentals, things like that are being worked on. So look for an exciting year.”

But Smith is not as quick to toot her own horn, though her expectations are by no means modest.

“Last year they made the first round of the playoffs,” Smith said. “I expect us to make the first round of the playoffs. I hope to go a little further than that, but right now I just want to get this program started.

“I understand it’s had four or five coaches within the last three years, so I just want to get it stable.”

The framework for the Missy Gators looks to be already in place, Creel said.

“We should have decent speed,” he said. “We have a couple outfielders returning that possess a lot of speed. The big thing is most of our girls are young, so they have years to grow together and we’ll see where it takes us on down the line.”

Hudson and Viola Howard will be counted on to provide senior leadership, while Brandi Parker anchors the speedy outfield. Hudson and Kelli Ouzts will be the Missy Gators’ aces on the mound, with freshman Lauren Johnson seeing opportunities.

“Attitude is real good,” Smith said. “I’m hoping they have a little heart with the attitudes because that’s what it’s going to take.”