Browder still trying to find his leading ladies

Published 9:05 pm Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The season has not exactly gotten off to a fast start for head coach Joey Browder and the Demopolis Lady Tiger softball team.

“We’re off to a slow start,” Browder said matter-of-factly about Demopolis (2-7). “Leadership. We’re still looking for that leadership to emerge. I see glimpses of it. But I’m waiting for somebody to put themselves out there. I don’t care if it’s one leader or 14 leaders. Somebody has got to get fed up enough to step up. And they have got to pull together.”

Chemistry has been a big issue for the Lady Tigers as they have worked in a number of new faces with a handful of veterans. Still, despite having experience at a number of positions, Demopolis has only two seniors on the varsity roster. But Browder refuses to allow that to become an excuse for his team.

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The 2009 Lady Tigers had only one senior on the roster, but still managed to come within a game of the state tournament. With that in mind, Browder has told his team to stop listening to the notion that they are young or that the season is still just beginning.

“They’ve got to take hold of the situation now,” Browder said. “I know what they are capable of doing. It’s frustrating when we’re not performing up to that level. The coaches realize that we’ve got to remain positive and keep working to get better everyday.”

Part of getting better for Demopolis means eliminating its achilles heel, which so far has proven to be a bad inning in nearly every game.

“It still seems like we’ve been plagued by that one bad inning. I think, perhaps, it is a lack of focus. Those tournament games are all timed. You can’t afford a bad inning,” Browder said for the most likely explanation for the Lady Tigers’ consistent struggles in an individual inning. “I think we’ve identified it as the third inning. We’ve started trying to install our pitching change in the third inning trying to slow things down there.”

The Lady Tigers have shown flashes of breaking through as five of their seven losses have come by four runs or fewer. But inconsistency has been a problem.

“Either we hit or we don’t. Either we play defense or we don’t,” Browder said. “We’ve got to put those two things together.”

As the Lady Tigers look to put together some sort of momentum, they may find no better time than this weekend’s tournament at Brookwood. In that event, they will face host Brookwood once and Dallas County twice. Demopolis has already split two games with Brookwood and has put together a run of success against DCHS in recent years.

“This is a huge weekend for us,” Browder said. “We’ve got the potential to come out of there with three wins. We’ve got to come out of there with some Ws.”