Lady Tigers are WANTED, and liking it

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 17, 2004

They’re the No. 1 most wanted team to beat, and they know it. But it doesn’t seem to scare them at all; in fact, it’s a challenge that has the 4A defending state champion Demopolis High Lady Tigers softball team screaming, “Bring It On,” as they head into the state finals.

Seniors Timie Lee, a three-year starter at DHS has no delusions about this week and what it means. “No one expected us to win last year, but we did,” Lee said. “This year, everyone wants to beat us, and all we here is how it’s nearly impossible to win it back -to-back. But I think we can surprise them all.”

Another senior, right fielder Heather Wright, has the same attitude as Lee. Wright is a three-year starter with the Lady Tigers who recently returned to the Tigers lineup after taking a fastball off her head against Bibb County in the last game of the regular season.

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“We are the same team as we were last year,” Wright said. “We think the same, we act the same, and we play the same. Why shouldn’t we win the same?”

While every other team in 4A may want to take down the Lady Tigers, the Lady Tigers only want to take down one team, one team at a time that is. The Lady Tigers are currently on a 16-game winning streak that started over a month ago with the Prattville Invitational. Since winning four games there and pulling out the big brooms for a clean sweep, there has been no stopping the Lady Tigers. If ever there was a defining moment in this year’s season, it was there.

Senior Katie Simmons remembers it very clearly and could see a change that has made the difference this year.

“After Prattville, I could just see this wanting look on the faces of my teammates,” Simmons said. “It was like a wave of hunger came over us and we suddenly craved it. And I don’t think it going to go away until we get what we want.”

What they want is obvious at this point, but how they get it comes down to two seniors that have led this team to where they are. At 5’11” Lauren Roark is the most intimidating player on the field today. She’s tall, quick, and has one of the best swings you’ll see on a softball field. But the best thing about the future Alabama player is her team dedication. Roark will be the first to tell you that pitching is not exactly her forte, but it is a position where her team needs her to be.

“I don’t love being on the mound,” Roark said. “I don’t feel as comfortable there as I do at other positions. But I know that’s where the team needs me the most right now. Everything I do on the field, I do for the team.”

The other significant leader, pitcher Kelly Keasler is just the opposite. The mound feels like home for Keasler, it is where everything she loves about this game happens.

“I love being on the mound,” Keasler said. “Things just feel natural there for me.” Lee, Wright, Simmons, Roark and Keasler represent the best of the best at DHS. Each are leaders in their own way, but regardless of their stature on the team, it is the team that comes first with each of them, and that’s why they are the best.