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Belles ready to make noise

The Dixie Belles have waited for several weeks to show how they would perform in a real game.

Saturday, they will get their chance to do that.

The Dixie Belles open their play in the state softball tournament at the Sportsplex. Troy will face Foley at 8 p.m. Foley is a district winner, but Troy has not played in several weeks because the team received a host exemption.

The question of rust is not high on coach Mark Kilpatrick's mind, though.

"I think we will do real well," Kilpatrick said. "We've got a good group of girls, and they're ready to play ball. They all want to get out here and start playing."

The team spent Thursday night as it has spent the weeks since the team was named, practicing for the upcoming tournament.

The only games the team has been able to play have been practice games against any team available.

"We haven't been able to get many games," Kilpatrick said. "We played Greenville the other night, and we had them 9-0 in the fourth inning and got rained out."

Troy's strength, though, will likely be in its pitching rotation. Troy will have the benefit of three solid pitchers to help the team through the tournament.

"For this age, we have the best three pitchers we could have," Kilpatrick said. "They are all very good."

Autumn Welch, Whitni Johnson and Heather West will all see some pitching time as the tournament progresses.

Dothan, Greenhill, Demopolis, Sand Mountain, North Chilton, Tarrant, Foley and Montgomery will join Troy for the tournament. Kilpatrick said all the teams should be good since they won their district tournaments to get here.

"The North Alabama teams should be tough, because they've been playing fast pitch softball a lot longer than we have," Kilpatrick said.