Andalusia girls to kick it in ‘gear’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 7, 2014

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Andalusia’s Andi Hughes make a throw during practice Tuesday. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

There’s something that always happens to Andalusia’s softball players when they set foot in Gulf Shores — the girls get in gear.

Lady Bulldogs seniors Andi Hughes and Abbie Young both said they hope the team will come together when it starts play in the Class 4A South Regional on Friday.

Hughes said it’s a mystery as to what it is that enables the team to play well at the tournament.

“It seems like when we go down there, something kicks in (gear),” Hughes said. “We don’t know what it is. It seems like we play better I guess when we’re under pressure, and we realize that our season is at stake.”

Hughes is right because the Lady Bulldogs enter the double-elimination tournament needing to win three to advance to the state tournament next week in Montgomery. However, if AHS loses two, then it goes home.

Last season, the Lady Bulldogs won their first game and ended up losing 13-8 in a 10-inning game to Ashford, the same team they start this year’s tournament against at 8 a.m. on Friday.

Young said the team realized that if they work together then anything is possible.

“Last year, we went down there and we did horrible in the regular season,” Young said. “We went down there and beat the first team, and lost to the second team in 10 innings. I think we started figuring out that we were working as a team better to get there.”

Before the 2014 campaign even started, Hughes and Young said the whole team got together and started getting to know each other better at a sleep over.

“After that night, we were all good,” Hughes said.

When asked whether they think they have a chance to make it back to the state tournament, Hughes and Young said the team has the “potential” to make it.

“We have the athletes, and the potential,” Young said.

“We’ve just got to string it all together and stay positive, and don’t get down,” added Hughes.

The seniors remember well the loss to Ashford last year, and are anxious to get going against the Lady Yellow Jackets once again.

“We’re excited about that,” Young said.

Hughes said the duo are trying to get the others ready for the game, too.

“We’re trying to get them excited about it,” she said. “We’re like guys, we’re about to play a team that put us out in extra innings last year.”

Hughes then paused and remembered that an Ashford pitcher kept pitching despite her fingers bleeding.

“She would not leave and it madet us so mad,” Hughes said.

Both said they know that it only takes winning three games in a row to get to state.

“We just need to go down there knowing that we’re going to go play softball, and it’s not a vacation to eat well and chill in a hotel,” Hughes said.

“We need to go down there with a mind set of winning,” added Young.

Hughes is the daughter of Angie and Chad Hughes, and Young is the daughter of Hope and Steven Salter, all of Andalusia.