By Austin Bishop / Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
Nobody is more excited about seeing the 2013 fast-pitch softball season unfold than first-year East Mississippi Community College head coach Kyndall White.
White, who is a former Auburn University standout, said the Lions will be young and it may be deep into the season before she finds exactly what she has.
"We have a really young team," White said. "We have some good sophomores, but it is going to be the freshmen who are going to be the difference."
But with youth, comes inexperience.
"We have a lot of depth and we are going to play a lot of people early on and give everybody a chance," White said "it may be near the end of the season, closer to division play before we really come up with a set line-up."
While there is some uncertainty, there is also some excitement.
"I'm ready and the team is too," White said. "We are looking forward to getting started. I really think we are going to surprise some people. The girls are working hard and are listening to what we are teaching them."
White was hired in July and she said the way she goes about things might have been a little bit of culture shock early on.
"I did kind of bring the feel of the SEC here," she said "Our practices were a lot harder and a little more intense."
While the roster has dwindled down to 19 with the first game of the season looming on Friday, White said those girls who have remained are good fits for the program.
After EMCC opens the year at Hinds Community College, the Lions will play their home opener against Copiah-Lincoln Community College at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.
While White will be making her first tour of duty as a coach in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges, she already has it set in her mind what it's going to take to win.
"Hitting is always important, but it's all going to start in the circle," she said. "I really believe the teams who pitch better will be the ones to beat."
The Lions will have five players vying for time on the mound, including four freshmen.
The lone sophomore pitcher is Amelia LaVergne, while the freshmen hurlers are Kendra Wilson, Halie Green, Taylor Hackney and Tori Seymour.
Abby Roberts and Corey Dawkins will be sharing time behind the plate. Looking for playing time in the infield are Meri Morgan Fortune, Seymour, Sarah Dudley and Green at first base; Alex Smith and Kendal Carpenter at second, Hackney and Dawkins at short and Charly Boswell and LaVergne at third.
Amber Spann and Haley Tutor are in center field, with Misty Richard, Tutor and Allison Hauer in left and Angel Johnson and Jade Albritton in right.