Seasoned Lady Vikes ready for run at slow-pitch crown

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 13, 2002

[08/13/02]Lucy Young has plenty of reasons to be confident heading into today’s opener against Morton.

The veteran coach will field a team with eight senior starters returning and quality underclassmen in the other two positions.

“From the outside looking in, people will say we have all this talent and we should immediately be in the playoffs,” Young said. “It doesn’t work that way. We have to take one game at a time.”

The Lady Vikes will be trying to make a run at a state championship. Two seasons ago, WC won the North State title before losing in the Class 5A Final Four.

Last season, with most of this year’s team playing as juniors, the Lady Vikes fell to perennial state power Moss Point in the second round of the state playoffs.

The Lady Vikes were scheduled to open the season on Saturday, but the new Ridgeland High could not field enough players for a game. Today’s game, originally scheduled to be at Yazoo City, was changed to Morton late last week.

Warren Central opens the home scheduled on Tuesday against rival Northwest Rankin at 5:30 p.m.

All but one infielder all-state selection Marilyn Landers returns, as does starting pitcher Hayley Martin and the starting catcher.

Lyn Strawn, coming off a July surgery, returns to left field and Katie Barnett starts the season in left-center. The duo, nicknamed Batman and Robin because of their closeness on and off the field, will be the stalwarts in the outfield. On the right side, though, is a question mark.

Young said she has a lot of potential players, but has to find the right combination in the outfield.

“We’re trying to discover exactly what we want to do on the right side,” Young said. “We’re working several players there and there should be some competition for those spots.”

Young said making a run to a state title is something for which the Lady Vikes are shooting. With an improved Vicksburg team and speedy Natchez in the division, she knows the work will be cut out for her.

“All of them will bring a good, solid team,” Young said. “You can never overlook Natchez because they always have speed and talent and Vicksburg is going to be solid. With only three in the division, it’s going to be a battle.”