Lady Tiger softball swings into action

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 3, 2005

Every beginning comes from another's end. That holds true in high school sports. With the basketball season winding down, Donna Sunnycalb and her Greenville Lady Tigers softball team had their first practice of the season Monday afternoon inside the Greenville Middle School gym.

"I think we are going to do well," said Sunnycalb. "I think that once we get everybody together as a group when basketball gets done. I think we are going to do well, I think we have a lot of talent, we've just got to get together and bring it all out.

The Lady Tigers, who don't actually start playing until Feb. 24, began their workouts by doing sprints, lunges and crunches and then talked about proper form and playing position.

Sunnycalb is in her first year at the helm of the Greenville Softball program that, figuratively, is in its infancy. According to Sunnycalb, Greenville High School has been playing fastpitch softball for five years, at the most. Sunnycalb is joined on the coaching staff by Michelle Myrick.

"I don't know any key players," said Sunnycalb. "I don't know these kids. I do know that I have a lot of older kids and I'm looking for a lot of the leadership from the older kids to help develop that teamwork and team chemistry."

Sunnycalb has high expectations for her Lady Tigers. The area they are in consists of two of south Alabama's toughest teams, Charles Henderson and Carroll(Ozark) as well as the Eufaula Lady Tigers.

Last spring, Charles Henderson made a trip to the state tournament and Carroll(Ozark) made it to the sub-regional tournament.

"I did the schedule like that on purpose because you are only going to play as good as your competition is," said Sunnycalb. "If you play better competition you'll play better. But if you don't then you'll end up playing down to the level of your competition. It's not going to benefit us to play small schools that haven't been playing fastpitch very long.

Personally, I'd rather go and lose to a good team then to win or lose against a bad team."

Along with Carroll and Charles Henderson, the Lady Tigers schedule boasts a pretty strong lineup of softball powers throughout the state.

"I'm anticipating that Charles Henderson will be our greatest threat," said Sunnycalb.

"I think the key to making it back to Montgomery for state is to win the sectional. We win sections, we get an ok seed for the cross-over and then if we can win that it makes our chances of going to state that much greater."

The Lady Tigers will cross-area with Benjamin Russell, Booker T. Washington, Valley High School and Russell County High School.

Of that group, the Wildcats of Benjamin Russell is the only team that have had experience in the state tournament. Last season that advanced

deep into the tournament and would have faced Charles Henderson, but were eliminated the round before. Before the Lady Tigers can look at that part of the schedule, they have to look at the schedule itself. The Lady Tigers will face Montgomery Academy and St. James on back to back days, March 1 and 3. Then, the Lady Tigers will travel to Montgomery's Vaughn Road to the Montgomery Academy. The Eagles and the Trojans are mainstays in the 3A state tournament. They will also take to the diamond against Trinity Presbyterian twice and then will play in their tournament in April.

Without the Montgomery schools, the Lady Tigers schedule is still competitive. They will face Andalusia, Luverne and Wetumpka, along with Highland home and Lamp. As a tune up for the sectional tournament, the Lady Tigers will compete in the Vestavia Hills Tournament on April 30.

Greenville opens their season Feb. 24 against Andalusia at the Greenville Lady Tiger Softball Complex.