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Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

Sikeston hoping experience pays off

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

(Photo)
Sikeston's Sydney King takes a pitch from Madison Chaney during bunting drills at a recent Lady Bulldog practice. Sikeston will begin the 2012 fall softball season Aug. 23 at Poplar Bluff. David Jenkins, Staff
SIKESTON -- They have experience, they have depth.

All the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs need to do is put it all together.

"We've finally got these girls playing ball together and they're playing all summer long," Sikeston head coach Tiffany Morgan said. "They've been in those winning situations and I think our girls have a great chance of winning districts."

Led by six seniors, the Lady Bulldogs hope to improve on a somewhat disappointing season a year ago where they finished 9-14 and lost in the opening round of the Class 4, District 1 tournament to Farmington, 5-2.

"We had some injuries that hurt us and we had to switch things up towards the end of the year that kind of set us back," senior catcher Sarah Dixon said about last season. "We didn't have enough people ready to play where we needed them to. This year, that won't be a problem."

Sikeston's depth, which has been a non-existent factor for many years, may be a strength of theirs for 2012.

The Lady Bulldogs have 22 players on their roster (11 on varsity, 11 on junior varsity) which has never been a 'good problem to have' for Morgan in her ninth year at the helm.

"We're more versatile than we've ever been," Morgan said. "I've never really had that luxury of being able to switch players around. We have girls that can play many different positions."

Along with Dixon, Madison Chaney, Sydney King, Kayla Fodge, Kristen Baker and Bayleah James lead Sikeston with their senior experience.

For King, Chaney and Annie Ramey, they have been playing together all summer.

The three of them played on the SEMO Blast 16u Softball team that placed third during the 2012 USGF World Series in Jackson, Tenn., in July.

"We've been playing together for quite awhile," King said. "Even the younger girls have played on traveling teams and that really helps a lot once you get to the high school level."

But, although their everyday lineup will feature mostly upper-classmen, more than a handful of sophomores and freshman are expected to be solid contributors.

"We have a lot more freshman this year that are going to play on the varsity team," King said. "They're willing to step up and do the job we need them to do. We have some really young talent coming up. They're learning and catching on really quick."

Sophomores Madison Smith, who is expected to handle most of the pitching load, Natalie Collins, Natalie Regenold, Myca Martin and Tara Evans will all be in the mix -- whether its filling a starting role or helping out on the basepaths.

Along with Smith, Fodge and freshman Hanna Placek will share pitching duties throughout the season.

"From end to end, we've got someone we can stick in there," Chaney said about the depth of this years team. "We can sub in whenever we want."

The biggest perk about having numbers, according to Morgan, is that although they are young, their knowledge of the game isn't a basic one.

"It's nice coming in and not having to teach the basics," she said. "These girls, even the young ones, have been around the game for a long time and they know what they're doing."

Chaney is expected to fill her role as the leadoff spark plug, once again.

The small, lightening quick senior jump-starts the offense by simply laying down drag bunts and beating out throws to first. She routinely follows that feat with stealing both second and third giving her teammates ample chances of knocking her in.

"We have a lot of our production back from last year," Chaney said. "Offensively, we should be pretty solid."

Sikeston's first game will be Aug. 23 when they travel to Poplar Bluff.

"I'm excited to get back into the swing of things," Morgan said. "We have six seniors this year and they are great leaders. Hopefully, we can put things together and have a good season."

Lady Bulldogs Schedule

8/23 @Poplar Bluff, 4 p.m.

8/27 Puxico, 4 p.m.

8/28 Perryville, 4 p.m.

8/29 Farmington, 4 p.m.

8/30-9/1 @Notre Dame Softballfest, TBD

9/4 Cape Central, 4 p.m.

9/5 @Kelly, 4 p.m.

9/6 Portageville, 4 p.m.

9/8 Lady Devil Classic, TBD

9/10 Notre Dame, 4 p.m.

9/12 @East Prairie, 4 p.m.

9/13 @Twin Rivers, 4:30 p.m.

9/17 @Jackson, 4:30 p.m.

9/19 Fredericktown, 4 p.m.

9/20 @Oran, 4 p.m.

9/24 @Scott City, 4 p.m.

9/25 East Carter, 4 p.m.

9/26 Saxony Lutheran, 4 p.m.

8/27 @Delta, 4 p.m.

10/1 @Naylor, 4:30 p.m.

Lady Bulldogs Roster

Kristen Baker, Sr., 3B

Madison Chaney, Sr., CF

Sarah Dixon, Sr., C

Kayla Fodge, Sr., RF, 2B

Bayleah James, Sr., LF

Sydney King, Sr., 1B

Annie Ramey, Jr., SS

Paige Sailors, Soph., P

Maggie Shepherd, Soph., 3B, 2B

Madison Smith, Soph., P, OF

Hanna Placek, Fr., 2B, OF, P

Lady Bulldogs JV Roster

Brittany Price, Jr., OF, 3B

Lara White, Jr., C, OF

Ivy Clinton, Soph., RF

Natalie Collins, Soph., CF, 2B

Tara Evans, Soph., 3B, OF, P

Jenny Keller, Soph., 2B, OF

Myca Martin, Soph., SS, P, OF

Natalie Regenold, Soph., 1B, C

Mercade Campbell, Fr., P, C

Hanna Placek, Fr., C

Paige Rainwater, Fr., 1B, 3B