Opp girls look to compete
Published 12:02 am Thursday, May 8, 2014
Opp softball coach Jimmy Reeves said if his Lady Bobcats put together good defense, good pitching and good hitting on the field this weekend, then they’ll be hard to beat.
The Lady Bobcats open their Class 3A South Regional Tournament at 5 p.m. tomorrow against Geneva in the first round at the Sports Complex in Gulf Shores.
Reeves said the team is “excited” to be able to go.
“We’re thankful to be there,” he said. “It’s going to be a tough first-round game. (Geneva is) young, but a very good offensive-hitting team. They’ve had a really good year.”
During the area tournament, OHS battled back from an opening-round loss to Excel to end up finishing runner up to Straughn.
Geneva won three straight games to top Slocomb — who SHS plays in the first round — in the area championship.
A good hitting team matches up well with Opp’s stellar defense.
“When we play good defense and get good pitching, we’re pretty good,” Reeves said. “When we get that and hit, we’re pretty good. Hopefully, we’ll get all three of them. If we do, then we’ll be tough to be beat by anybody.”
Fans who will remember last season can’t forget the dramatic way OHS fell to Montgomery Catholic in the loser’s bracket championship.
The Lady Bobcats and MC went 12 innings, where the Montgomery team came out on top, 4-2.
Reeves said there are a couple things the girls have taken from last year’s tournament and will apply them to this year’s.
“First of fall, it was the first experience for our girls to be in that environment,” he said. “We’ll benefit from just the experience of being there a year before. Also, hopefully, we have learned that you’ve got to finish.
“Last year, we started real well and didn’t finish,” he said. “One thing I think about this year’s team is that we’ve seen more adversity than last year. Last year, it was like one of those years you just dream about. We won every tournament we played in, and we didn’t lose but six games (leading to the regional). This year, we’ve had some adversity and we’ve had some injuries. We’ve had to overcome some things, and I’m hoping that’s going to be a plus for us.”
In order to gain a berth to play in the state tournament in Montgomery next week, the Lady Bobcats will need to win three straight games.
Winning that first one against GHS is critical, Reeves said.
“The first game is the only one we’re shooting for right now,” he said. “After that, we’ll just line up and play. At this time of the year, you pretty much know who your starters are. You throw them out there and either they execute and win, or don’t execute and go to the house.”
Reeves said he believes the girls haven’t peaked yet this season, and that a few are coming around at the plate.
“Courtney Chatham and Laiken Free are seeing the ball as good as they can see it,” the coach said. “(Ariyon) Hightower is playing well, too. Kelley Pierce, our other senior, is always good. I feel like they’re all going to have good tournaments.
“If we can get any of the rest of them to have a hot bat, then we’ll be very competitive,” he said.