Lady Bobcats anxious to kick off softball season

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 28, 2014

Opp’s softball team is all fired up and ready to take the field as the Lady Bobcats start their 2014 varsity campaign at Andalusia on Tuesday.

The Lady Bobcats started preparing for the season a little later than the mandated practice start time for schools by the Alabama High School Athletic Association. The reason being that this way, players will more than likely be “fresher” when it comes to playing in May, when the postseason starts, OHS coach Jimmy Reeves said.

“We’ve got to be ready in May, and hopefully we’ll be in the hunt,” Reeves said. “In order to do that, you can’t start in January and expect them to be fresh in five months. I just think softball and baseball seasons start too early. I wish they’d push them back.”

Opp lost seven players — five seniors from last year and two juniors who didn’t come back — for this year’s squad.

Reeves said it’s not going to be a rebuilding year.

“We’ve got some good players coming back,” he said.

That he does, especially on the mound.

The Lady Bobcats will be led by juniors Anna Harrelson and Courtney Chatham, and sophomores Katlynn Schively and Tiffany Dean.

“We’re blessed to have such good pitchers. Really blessed,” Reeves said.

In the infield, OHS will need to fill the first and second base positions. When not pitching, Chatham and Harrelson will man the shortstop position; senior Laiken Free will be at third base; junior Tori Reisnour and freshman Hope Ladson will be at catcher; and senior Kelly Pierce will be in the outfield.

Opp will again compete in Class 3A, Area 2 with rival Straughn, as well as Excel and Southside Selma.

Reeves said he doesn’t know much about EHS.

“You know Straughn will be good,” he said. “So, I would think it’ll be a three-way fight between the two (top) spots (to advance to the regional tournament). It’s a toss up for anybody.”

Reeves said the goal for the team is always to get to Montgomery to play in the state tournament.

The Lady Bobcats came up a bit short at last season’s regional in Gulf Shores, where it finished third. The top two teams from the regional advance to the state tournament at Lagoon Park.

“Once you get to Montgomery, which we haven’t done yet, anything can happen,” he said. “The more immediate goal is to try to get better with each game.”

While OHS has gotten off to a late start on the practice field, its off-season workout program was already in full swing.

“This is my fourth year here and for the first time, I go in that weight room and I don’t hear any complaining,” the coach said. “I don’t have to push them like I have in the first three years. They’re getting strong. We’re going to be a lot stronger this year, physically.”