Pike County returns to slow pitch

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 9, 2001

Sports Writer

BRUNDIDGE – In a period of time when fast pitch softball is being emphasized everywhere from youth leagues to the collegiate level, the slow pitch game is starting to become a growing dinosaur across the United States.

However, there are still some places in the Southeast that still play the older version of softball due to various unforeseen reasons. Such is the case with Brundidge’s Pike County High School.

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After two years of slow growth with fast pitch softball in terms of the struggles to win and

scheduling games, PCHS has opted to go back to the slow pitch game as they embark the beginning of the 2001 season.

In spite of Charles Henderson being an established program and Goshen now currently in its first year of fast pitch,

Pike County head coach Danny Suber said he feels like the move will benefit the softball program in the short term.

"We’re going back to slow pitch for a couple of reasons," said Suber, who immediately accepted the post in

December. "One is that of scheduling because so many teams from this area are in slow pitch and we were having to go outside the Wiregrass to get games (in fast pitch). We can also stay competitive in slow pitch because fast pitch is a lot like baseball. We don’t have the feeder foundation in our community because we don’t have a summer (fast pitch) softball program. It’s tough enough getting ready for slow pitch."

Suber said another reason for going back to slow pitch is due to a number of schools having not yet made the transition over to slow pitch in the state of Alabama.

"When we made the move to fast pitch, my understanding

was that the whole state was going to fast pitch," Suber said. "But that never happened. You still have a number of schools in slow pitch. We felt like it was best for our girls to go back to slow pitch."

However, Suber said he’s not ruling out the possibility of PCHS returning to fast pitch in the nearer future.

"That’s definitely something our principal (Terry Casey) has talked about which is going back to fast pitch," Suber said. "We feel like though it would be more appropriate to go back to slow pitch for this year."

As far as this year’s team is concerned, Suber said he’s optimistic the move back to slow pitch will help the Lady Bulldogs in the win-loss column after a sub .500 season last spring.

"We have a pretty good nucleus of girls that have experience playing organized softball whatever it’s fast pitch or slow pitch," Suber said. "Being in game situations whatever they did well or poorly has to count for something."

Five starters return from last year’s team led by senior utility player Amanda Garrett. Suber said Garrett will play three different infield positions after playing second base last year for the Lady Bulldogs.

Sophomore Shannon Langston returns to her catcher’s position after starting in her first varsity season last year. Freshman Savannah Hughes returns and will play either at second base or in the outfield. Senior Shannon Diggs will play at first base after seeing lots of action at third last year. The third base position will be filled by senior Hannah Taylor. Taylor played in the outfield in ’00 for the Lady Bulldogs.

Among the non starters from last year for PCHS that are expected to make major contributions for the Lady Bulldogs include senior pitcher Ashley Maulden, sophomore center fielder Anesha McCord, sophomore left fielder Wennica Foster, senior infielder Alice Sanders (transfer), eighth grade outfielder Shanteor Frazier, along with sophomore outfielders Trista Hanbey and Laqunetta Tarver.

Going into the new season, Suber said strengths of the Lady Bulldogs include infield defense, hitting and a renewed attitude. On the other hand, Suber said he’s concerned about the outfield.

Pike County’s Section will include a combination of 2A and 3A teams such as Luverne, Highland Home and Headland. The sectional tournament is scheduled for mid-May in Luverne.

The Lady Bulldogs opened the 2001 season in a doubleheader Thursday afternoon at Abbeville. Pike County will have a three week layoff before its home opener on Thursday, March 29 when they Ariton in another two-nighter. The first pitch is set for 4 p.m.