Troy Angels play on Monday

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 7, 2002

Sports Editor

As of Friday night, the Troy Dixie Angels were still awaiting word on what teams would be coming to Troy for the district tournament, which started on Saturday.

However, Troy doesn’t take the field until Monday, having received a bye as the district host team.

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Angels’ head coach Lydia Sexton said she felt not having the experience of playing in a sub-district tournament wouldn’t hurt her girls too bad.

"We’ve got some good players," said Sexton. "We’ve got a good variety. We’ve got some good fielders and good hitters. If they’re able to make contact with that ball it’s gone. In fact, we’ve been impressed with the number of hitters we have on this team."

Sexton said she’s enjoyed working with this group and that the girls have been real receptive of what her and her assistant coaches want them to do.

"They’re really into it," she said. "The first night we worked with them we told them that we were going to figure out where they went and the best thing they could do was say ‘yes sir or no ma’mn’ and everyone of them has done that. We usually start practices around 7:30 (p.m.) and it will be 9 (p.m.) and we’re still here. No one every says ‘I want to go home.’ It’s a great bunch of girls to work with."

Sexton said Nick Jones and Alyson Jacobs are her two strongest pitchers right now, but said she would be looking for others. In Dixie Angels tournament play, pitchers are allowed just 11 total innings.

"We’re working on consistency and trying to get them to put it in the right spot," said Sexton. "Nick and Alyson are our two strongest, but we’ve been working with some other girls. Actually, by bringing them in from other teams, almost every girl has pitched for her team at one time or the other."

That helps but Sexton said with this age group pitchers can start out either hot on the mound, or find themselves searching for the strike zone.

"These girls understand that," she said. "They know that ‘yeah, she’s going to move me now, but she may try me again some other time.’ Usually our pitchers are some of our stronger players so we’ll just move them to somewhere else in the field."

Sexton said she told her team that was one of the marks of playing on a tournament squad: being able to adapt to any position on the field.

"We tell them they have to have a good glove, a good bat and have to have the experience where they’ve played all over the field, instead of staying at one position the whole time," she said. "Most of these girls have pitched for their divisional teams and played in both the infield and outfield."

Sexton added that the hardest thing was bringing all of the girls together and getting them working on the same page. But she said it helps that a majority of the team is 10-year-olds, some with three years of experience playing Dixie Angels baseball.

"The biggest thing for some of them is the pitching," she said. "At this age they’ve watched it on TV and want to do all of this fancy stuff. We tell them ‘no, no, no. Just get it to the glove. Just get a strike that’s all that matters.’ It’s been kind of funny and it’s a lot to get used to for some of the younger ones."