Locked and loaded

Published 9:58 pm Thursday, June 24, 2010

There is an old saying in baseball and softball that pitching will win championships.

This motto is exactly what Dixie Ponytails’ head coach Terry Motes and his team is hoping for this summer.

The Troy team will begin its tournament play in the Sub-District action at the Troy Sportsplex, the same place it competed in this past weekend in the Ponytails’ warm-up tournaments.

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The team finished with a 1-0-1 record, defeating Montgomery Gray 4-1 in the first game, before finishing with a 3-3 tie against Rehobeth in game two.

And while the coach said he liked what he saw on Saturday, he said he also expects a different kind of atmosphere once the games begin this weekend.

“I think Sub-District is going to be very competitive,” Motes said. “But if we play sound ball, I think we will be playing in District.”

Even though Motes said he believes the competition will only get stronger throughout the summer, he has the perfect answer for it.

“We got four really good pitchers on this team,” he said. “And in tournaments like these, pitching is absolutely the key to success.”

Amanda Finlayson, Kelli Grant and Lexie and Meredith Motes were the four pitchers the coach was talking about.

“All four are seasoned pitchers – the veteran type pitchers,” Motes said. “And we are fortunate enough to have them on our team.”

Besides the experience the four provide, they also bring another attribute to the team that will help the team during the tournament days.

During tournament play, each pitcher is only allowed to pitch 13 innings, so with four different pitchers, Troy has a lot of innings to play with.

“All four of the girls have thrown every night at practice to keep themselves warmed-up,” the coach said.

“Each of the girls pitched [in the warm-up tournaments] and they all looked good.

“At this level, you got to watch how the girls are pitching and see if they are off or on, but each one of these girls are capable of being very good,” Motes added.

The girls will have their chance to show off their skills today during the team’s first round action against Ozark.

“They have a pretty good club,” Motes said about his team’s first round opponent. “From what I have seen and heard, they are a very competitive team. So we are going to have to play a our game.”

In order to play a their game, there is one other factor, besides pitching, the team must do well, according to the coach.

“Getting hits is a must,” he said.

In order to make sure his team is able to get those hits, Motes hired a hitting coach that has been working with the team since it was formed, and so far, the coach is seeing improvement.

“They all have improved a lot and hopefully, we will be able to carry what we have done in practice into the games,” Motes said. “But for now, we are going to take it one game at a time.”

Troy will look to win its first game of tournament play, today at 8 p.m. against Ozark at the Troy Sportplex.