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A rebuilding year

Despite losing four “top-notch” players in the infield, the Pleasant Home Lady Eagles softball team is looking to have a successful season.

“We always set our goals high,” Jimmy Reeves, head softball coach said. “It’s going to be kind of a rebuilding year it looks like. We’ve got some good players, but they’re very young.”

In 2009, Pleasant Home made it to the state tournament, where they finished in third place, falling to Speake 9-2.

This season, the Lady Eagles have five returning starters after losing seniors Erin Byrd, Ariel Gunter, Brittany Ward and Kati Reeves to graduation.

As far as seniors on the team, Pleasant Home will have Kayla Woods and Gina Davis.

Right now, Davis is not practicing with the team due to getting a concussion during basketball season.

“We don’t know when (Davis) be back, but probably will be in mid-season,” Reeves said. “We’re hoping she’ll be back.”

Woods, on the other hand, will take the third base spot on the field.

“We want to get back to state like every year we do,” Woods said. “Our main goal is to win state this year.”

Woods said that she will be the same type of leader as she was on the basketball team.

“We were a young team there, too,” she said. “These girls — they might be young, but they have an awesome skill level.

“They’ve been playing together since they were 5 years old,” she said. “They might be young in age, but they’re pretty mature for softball players.”

Right now, Reeves said he hasn’t decided where everybody will play. However, there will be a lot of rotation between positions at the start of the season just to see where he wants his players to play.

In pitching, the Lady Eagles will have help from junior Brentin Fuller and freshman Emily Byrd.

“The strongest part of our team should be our pitching,” Reeves said.

In the rest of the infield, the catcher will be freshman Ashley Copeland right now; first base will be either sophomore Mary Schwartz, freshman Jordan McGee or Fuller; second base will be Kathryn Dozier and Kaitlin Brookshire; third base will be Woods; short stop will be either Emily Byrd or Fuller; Megan Cook will return to center field; Robyn Weaver and Brookshire will join Cook in the outfield as well.

Asked what kind of approach he will take this season, Reeves said one thing.

“I’m just going to keep telling myself to be patient and let this team jell because they’re so young,” he said. “I do feel good about them. It’ll be mid-to-late season before we hit our form. We’re liable to hit some bumps early.”

This season, the Lady Eagles will be in Class 1A, Area 3 with Florala, Kinston and McKenzie.

“Kinston is one of the top teams in the state,” Reeves said. “They always are. It’s a great rivalry that we have with them. I think we played them nine times last year. So, it should be between us and them.

“However, Florala has a new coach over there and you can’t ever tell what’s going to happen with McKenzie,” he said.

The Lady Eagles will start their season Monday at Red Level. The junior varsity game begins at 4 p.m.

Woods doesn’t appear too concerned with having such a young team this season.

“We’re always a team that will rise to the occasion,” she said. “Them being young is not going to bother us at all.”

When asked when he thinks the team will peak, Woods said, “I don’t really know. We’ll peak when we do.”