August 26, 2004

Young Lady Tigers Have Big Shoes To Fill As 2004 Softball Season Starts

For four straight seasons Scotland County softball teams had the luxury of penciling in the same starting battery. For the first time since 1999 someone other than Brandi Mallett or Sara Eggleston will be SCR-Iís number one option.

The talented tandem were just two of the nine seniors that stared for last yearís team that turned in one of the best years in school history. Eggleston and Mallett and their fellow seniors helped lead the squad to a 17-5 mark and were just inches away from going head to head with eventual state champion Putnam County in the district title game.

This yearís version of the Lady Tigers returns just four seniors, all of which are expected to fill key roles as the team strives to avenge last seasonís heart breaking loss in 17 innings in the district semi-finals to Knox County.

Rebecca Consbrock will slide over to the mound after starting at first base last year. She was 2-0 in limited pitching action last year behind Eggleston but will take over the reins as the teamís #1 hurler in 2004.

She can get the job done with the bat as well, after finishing third on the team in 2003 with a .376 batting average including two doubles, two triples and 11 RBI.

Consbrock will be throwing to a new receiver, as the team will have a whole new battery in 2004. Junior Angie Bulen and freshman Jessica Bair are competing for the spot and Coach Terri Slaughter had not made her decision on the starter heading into the final practices before the season opener.

Coach Slaughter will look to senior Jacqui Drummond to take over the hot corner. After playing outfield in 2003, Drummond will move in to take over for all-conference performer Jessie Cotton at third base.

The only two positions that will be the same are up the middle. Senior Valerie Crawford will play second base and junior Ali Fromm will make this the sixth straight year that a Fromm has played shortstop for SCR-I. Ali took over the position from her older sister last season after Meagan graduated in 2002.

Fromm gives the team steady glove work at the key defensive position and will be a key component at the plate as well. She hit .385 last year with four doubles, three triples and a home run. She also stole 10 bases and her speed will play a key role again in 2004.

Crawford started off 2003 in the outfield but moved in to second base midway through the year. She found herself at home in the infield, as well as at the plate. As a junior, she hit at a .346 clip and recorded a team-high 18 RBI.

Coach Slaughter had not settled on a replacement for Consbrock at first base heading into the final week of practice. She indicated that position, as well the three outfield spots could be won by a number of players and likely would fluctuate as the year wore on.

Jamie Fuller has the inside on one of the outfield jobs as she saw varsity action last year as a sophomore. Senior Ashley Ellison will also fit into the mix as Coach Slaughter juggles the line-up early in the year searching for the right mix.

Sophomore Karra Small will give the team a second option on the mound and likely will see some varsity action in tournaments when the team needs two hurlers.

The Lady Tigers will feature a young team in 2004 with nine freshmen, three sophomores and six juniors to go along with the four seniors.

While SCR-I will be unveiling new talent on the mound, the majority of the teamís conference foes will have the luxury of returning some of the top hurlers in the state. That list is headed by league MVP Katie McMahon of Knox County and also features junior Ashley Wallingford of Clark County and seniors Jackie Loughead of Putnam County and Jessica Taylor of Milan.

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