Lady Eagles gear up for 3/7 home opener

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 4, 2005

When first-year softball coach Scarlett McNaughton asked softball player Stephanie Hood to go work with one of the players, she was surprised at the result.

"I've found a new pitcher," said McNaughton. "I asked her to help one of my girls work on catching and she was throwing like she was pitching. I asked her if she'd ever pitched before, she said she'd practiced it but never pitched so I got her out there and let her practice on pitching and she's awesome."

Hood will join Kerry Coker in the pitching rotation along with two other members of the Lady Eagle softball team.

"I was really happy that we found Stephanie because she's got the speed and the accuracy," said McNaughton. "We are hoping that will get us through the season. But we are looking forward to it."

Fort Dale will open their season Monday afternoon when they play host to Escambia Academy at Greenville's Beeland Park Complex.

"We haven't had very much practice time, but the time that we have had, has been spent practicing hard," said McNaughton. "They work well together and they are working as a team. That's the main ingredient right there."

But, McNaughton is still surpised

at the number of girls from Fort Dale that signed up to play softball this season.

"I was looking for nine or 10 or not even enough," said McNaughton. "But now we have 15 girls. I'm glad that we could have a team this year."

With the team's first game set for Monday, McNaughton is still debating who her starting nine is going to be.

"I'm still working on that," said McNaughton. "I've got another person helping me and he's got some ideas so we are still working that. I do know that my seniors will start this year. The main ones will Coker, Hope Stanford, Stephanie Lee, Stephanie Hood and Michelle Hulick and that's just to name a few."

McNaughton lists one of the difficulties in naming a starting nine as how well the Lady Eagles work in different positions on the field.

"All of them are good," said McNaughton. "They work well in several different places and not just in one place. I've got some that may play first base but can also play third or pitch. It's a little troublesome trying to figure out who i'm going to put where sometimes. But once I get the pitcher set, we'll pretty much work around that."

Monday's game will be played at

Beeland Park and is slated to start at 4 p.m.

Fort Dale's baseball team will also make their season debut on Monday against Escambia County. First pitch for that game is slated for 4 p.m., as well.