Slow-pitch jamboree draws crowd to NC
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 1:00 AM
Softball fans can get a preview of all four local teams Saturday during the annual Neshoba Central slow-pitch jamboree.
The games don't count on a team's record. They only last four innings and have an hour time limit. But there will be plenty of softball action with 10 teams entered and 10 games scheduled to be played.
"Teams kept calling and we kept taking them," Neshoba Central Coach Trae Embry said. "It's going to be a big day."
Neshoba Central's jamboree schedule is as follows:
9 a.m. - Philadelphia vs. West Lauderdale
10:15 - Philadelphia vs. Northeast Lauderdale
11:30 - Neshoba Central vs. West Lauderdale
12:45p.m. - East Webster vs. Northeast Lauderdale
2 p.m. - Neshoba Central vs. Leake Central
3:15 p.m. - East Webster vs. Choctaw Central
4:30 p.m. - Eupora vs. Leake Central
5:45 p.m. - Choctaw Central vs. Union
7 p.m. - Newton County vs. Eupora
8:15 p.m. - Newton County vs. Union
The Lady Rockets have 10 starters returning from last year's state championship team that finished with a 27-5 record.
"We've got to work hard and try to improve in every game," Embry said. "We should have a good team. Out of 30 players, we had 20 to 25 who played summer ball and that's big. We are looking forward to our season."
The Lady Rockets lost catcher Miranda Crenshaw and right fielder Jesse Hennington to graduation. But they picked up a two players. Kayla McKinion and Hannah Williams did not play slow-pitch last year but will be out this season, according to Embry.
After Saturday's jamboree, the Lady Rockets' next action will come the next Saturday in the Newton County Classic.
The Lady Rockets open at Union on August 20.
The Lady Tornadoes have not made the playoffs for the past two seasons in slow-pitch softball and Coach Austin McNair is looking to correct that this year.
However, McNair adds that the Lady Tornadoes play in the tough Region 5-3A along with defending State Class 3A champions Southeast Lauderdale and Choctaw Central.
"There are three very good teams in our region and only three go to the playoffs," McNair said. "We are going to be young this year but I think we can be pretty competitive. We have six starters back and we have some talent."
The Lady Tornadoes will play two games in the Neshoba Central jamboree, and will be playing next Saturday in the Newton County Classic. They open the season a Sebastopol on August 20.
Choctaw Central played for the South State Championship last year, losing to eventual champion Southeast Lauderdale.
Coach Aaron Terrell says he has nine starters back from last year's 21-11 team and is looking for the Lady Warriors to make it to the next level.
""There are three good teams in our region - Southeast Lauderdale, Philadelphia and us," Terrell said. "If we stay together, we have a pretty good season. Our first goal is to get into the playoffs."
The Lady Warriors will be playing in the Neshoba Central Jamboree on Saturday.
The Lady Yellowjackets will be trying to come back from last year and they'll be playing in a very competitive region with Clarkdale, Enterprise and Lake.
"It's a tough region," Union Coach Jacob Casey said. "But we have seven starters coming back and we feel like we have something to prove."
Casey said his team spent some time in the weight room over the summer and did some conditioning work.
"We are going to be a lot stronger at the start of the season," Casey said. "We are going to be a better team and we'll compete better."