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From the Sidelines: Demopolis season better than record

Demopolis softball’s run came to an end Saturday with a difficult loss to a very good Beauregard team.

The season-ending defeat came at a later point than many probably figured it would.

A very young Demopolis team struggled at intervals throughout the season, at one point losing 13 out of 15 games; including a stretch of 10 straight losses. Unquestionably there were times when head coach Joey Browder found himself spending a great deal of energy re-evaluating his role.

However, Monday Browder stated very plainly, “I’m proud of that record.”

And, as ludicrous as it may sound to some, Browder has every reason to do just that.

The girls’ 14-22 mark is a thing of beauty. It signifies struggle. It is indicative of hardship. But most of all, it embodies character.

The 2009 Tigers were young from the outset, featuring only one senior in left fielder Victoria Morgan.

It took the field for its first game on Feb. 17 with virtually no resemblance to the 2008 squad that sent three players to the collegiate ranks and will see a fourth walk on next year.

In fact, the only returning defensive starters were sophomores Samantha Walker and Kristin Beach and junior Ashley Polk.

That meant the Tigers were going to be forced to take their lumps and learn everything on the fly. But this group of girls did that and then some. Despite looking dead in the water at certain points in the year, the DHS ladies rallied to win five of its last eight games, snag the area championship and pose a serious threat at making the state tournament. That’s not bad for a team whose top two pitchers are freshmen and whose part-time catcher is an eighth-grader.

So all in all, 14-22 doesn’t look bad. But the value of this season won’t be fully understood until the team finishes up its 2010 campaign. That season figures to see eight starters return from a team that lost 10 of its 22 games by three runs or less; to a team whose chemistry reached levels most of its predecessors never achieved. Yeah. There’s definitely a reason Browder is proud of 14-22. And there’s definitely a reason a lot of people around the DHS softball program are smiling about the foundation that was laid this year.