Local softball teams gearing up for season
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 1:00 AM
This may be the week of the Neshoba County Fair, but it is also time for local softball teams to start preparing for their fall seasons.
Neshoba Central is gearing up to try for a three-peat as Class 5A-6A slow-pitch state champions while Choctaw Central looks for its second straight Class 3A slow-pitch title. And Union and Philadelphia will be looking to return to the playoffs after being absent the past couple of years.
The Lady Rockets lost three starters from last year's team but Head Coach Trae Embry has a roster of 32 players to pick from.
"We are blessed with depth, there is no question about that," Embry said. "We are not talking so much about a three-peat. We have a lot of talent and should be pretty strong.
"But we will stick with taking them one game at a time and working to improve each day. That's has worked well," Embry said.
Neshoba Central participated in the Meridian camp on Thursday. The varsity went 3-0 while the junior varsity went 1-1-1 against other teams' varsity.
Choctaw Central and Philadelphia compete in the Class 3A Region 5-3A. Choctaw Central is the defending state champion.
"Without a doubt, it is the toughest district in the state," Coach Austin McNair said. "Teams from our region have played and won the state championship for the past three years."
Two teams advance to the playoffs and for the past three years, Choctaw Central and Southeast Lauderdale have represented the region.
"We all end up 2-2 against each other and we have been able to make the playoffs in the past three seasons," McNair said. We have everybody back this year and we will be trying to make it. If we can make it out of our region, we have a good chance of playing in Jackson."
The Lady Tornadoes also participated in the Meridian tournament. They went 1-1-1.
Leake Academy is looking to regain the Mississippi Independent Schools Association Class AA fat-pitch championship. The Rebelettes held for three straight years before placing second in last year's state tournament.
"We have six starters returning," Coach Doug Jones said. "We have some young players in key positions who are going to get their chance to step up and play. How well they do will determine how we do.
The Rebelettes' season starts Saturday when they enter the Starkville Invitational.
Union will be playing in Region 5-2A. The Lady Yellowjackets open the season in the Newton County tournament on Aug. 16.