Time to shine

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 25, 2004

For the defending 4A state champion Demopolis High Lady Tigers softball team, the road back to the top starts with today with the 20-8 Dallas County Lady Hornets coming to town for an area match-up under the new lights at DHS.

In their previous meetings this season, the Lady Hornets got the best of the Lady Tigers on two separate occasions winning 4-2 in their first area match-up in Plantersville, and taking a 2-0 decision against the ladies in blue at the Demopolis Invitational.

After going 23-10 last year and being denied a showing in the AHSAA playoffs due to a strong performance from both the Lady Choctaws of Bibb County and the Lady Tigers of Demopolis, the Lady Hornets would like nothing more than to collect a clean sweep over the Lady Tigers in regular season play and walk into the area tournament as the No. 1 seed.

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But DHS head coach John Wayne Harris, like the name he carries, has a team with a name that defines tough when it comes to softball, and doesn’t believe his Lady Tigers are going to stand for that.

After a somewhat slow beginning to the season, coach Harris believes his team has finally come together and is within one or two victories of breaking into a groove that should catapult the Lady Tigers deep into the playoffs.

“We’re starting to come together as a team,” coach Harris said. “I think we are entering into a place that we found ourselves in last season at this same time and with every win, we get stronger and more confident, which in turn makes us very hard to beat.”

For the past three opponents that the Lady Tigers have faced, they have been very hard to beat. The Lady Tigers have knocked off three of their last four opponents, winning in a most dominating style by shutting out the last three they have faced.

And according to Harris, one reason to this dynamic change in play lies in the way the Lady Tigers have been swinging the bats.

“The ball is finally starting to fall into the gaps for us, where as before we were hitting the ball hard, but we hitting it right back at our opponents for easy outs,” coach Harris said.

Still another reason could be in outstanding pitching performances from both senior Kelly Keasler (8-3) and senior Lauren Roark (10-6). The two have combined for all three of the Lady Tigers last three shutout wins. Keasler picked up wins against both Haleyville and Tuscaloosa-County, while Roark shut out Clarke County.

In today’s game, fans can expect to see Keasler get the call once more for Lady Tigers, while senior Mallory Miller (10-4) will most likely be looked upon to lead the Lady Hornets on the mound.

Game time is set for 4:30 p.m.