McKenzie High Lady Tigers set for opener

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 22, 2005

While most of the state's softball team's have a good six or seven or more games under their belts, the McKenzie High School Lady Tigers won't open their 2005 season until Friday when they play cross-county rival, Georgiana.

"We had 12 games, but W.S. Neal cancelled on us," said Cindy Lowe, coach of the McKenzie Lady Tigers.

"I wasn't expecting to coach, I'm in school two nights a week at Alabama State and I was expecting Coach Scott Curd to be back this year. But if they put their heart into it they'll be fine. All it really comes down to is the area tournament at the end and when May rolls around, some of the other teams may be tired of playing by then."

Lowe inherited the team after Curd's departure from the Butler County School system.

Following the Georgiana game, the Lady Tigers are jumping feet first into an 11-game schedule that has them playing their two of their three regional foes back-to-back. Pleasant Home is the third team in the region, but due to the way that the AHSAA sets up the softball rules, the Lady Tigers and the Lady Eagles will not meet until the Area tournament. On May 7, the Lady Tigers and the Lady Eagles will be the first game of the day, playing at 9 a.m.

"Pleasant Home, I haven't seen them play," said Lowe. "But they are probably pretty good because their girls participate in summer league and are pretty good. Florala is about on the same level as us. We beat them some last year and then they beat us some. I've never played Kinston before. This is their first year in the area.

McKenzie will travel to Florala and then Kinston on March 28 and 31 respectively and then play host to 2A Red Level on April 1. The Lady Tigers will travel to Frisco City and then Georgiana on April 7 and 8 but will play host to Frisco City on April 14.

Kinston and Florala come to town on April 18 and 26 respectively.

McKenzie Lady Tigers will end their season on April 29 with a road trip to Red Level and then will travel to the Sectional Tournament on May 7.

This year's squad of Lady Tigers consists of one senior, four juniors, two sophomores and a multitude of freshman and seventh and eighth graders and will be led by the senior catcher, Kayla Conard and by Ashley Godwin.

"She's a senior and she's working really hard as our catcher, it's a big improvement,," said Lowe. "She amazes me."

Godwin will shoulder a majority of the pitching duties for the Lady Tigers.

"She pitched last year," said Lowe. "I've got some freshman and sophomores that are training, I guess you could say. They are working at learning the skill and I've got a seventh grader that's wanting to learn how to pitch."

Tia Bush and Blair Brogden are the two freshman and Alicia Stuckey is the seventh grader for the Lady Tigers.

"I think our strength will be based on the experience of our juniors and seniors that are playing," said Lowe. "They seem to have a lot of potential. More so than I've seen in the past few years working with these girls and have more maturity. Our infield is really strong and it's better than what I had figured coming into the season. I assisted last season and the girls seemed real weak and didn't want to play."

First pitch for Friday's game against Georgiana is set for 1 p.m., and will be played at McKenzie High School.