Augsut 17, 2006

Young Lady Tigers Look To Move Up In Wide Open Conference Race

For years the Tri-Rivers Conference has been renowned as one of the toughest softball leagues in the state of Missouri, predominantly on the power of its pitching. While itís too early to tell what the 2006 season has in store for the conference, one thing is for certain, there will be plenty of new faces on the mound, as the league said goodbye to conference MVP Ashley Wallingford.

While both perennial power houses in the league, Putnam County and Clark County will have new pitchers in 2006, Scotland County has the luxury of returning its hurler for her senior season.

Karra Small is the lone senior returning from last yearís squad that went 9-13 and 2-5 in conference play.

She does have an experienced battery mate in catcher Jessica Bair. The junior has been the starting backstop the past two seasons.

The infield will take on a new look in 2006 after the loss of seniors Ali Fromm, Angie Bulen and Jamie Fuller. Fromm was the starting shortstop the past three years while Bulen took over the first base job last year. Fuller played first and third as well as the outfield.

ďThis will be the first time in my coaching career that I donít have a Fromm penciled at shortstop,Ē said Coach Terri Slaughter who had the luxury of coaching all-conference performers, sisters Meagan and Ali Fromm.

Slaughter said that the shortstop position isnít settled going into the final week of practice. She is looking at moving junior Lacy Jack over from second base or possibly bringing all-conference center fielder Kirsten Johnston in to take over the job.

Junior Kellyn Wickert will man the hot corner again in 2006 after taking over the post midway through last year.

Sophomore Deidra Dochterman may get the nod at first base after hitting nearly .500 in limited action at the varsity level last year as a freshman.

ďShe hit so well last year we are going to find a place to get her bat into the lineup,Ē Slaughter said.

Another sophomore that showed a solid stick in 2005 was Valerie Oldham. She likely is the frontrunner to take over in left field for Fuller.

Junior Andrea Shelley will also fit into the outfield mix and will see time at catcher as well.

Junior Megan Westhoff completes the outfield picture for the Lady Tigers.

Sophomores Tara Matlock and Melissa Cotton will both figure into the second base job if Jack slides over to shortstop.

Kaela Cook is expected to give the Lady Tigers an unusual luxury for high school softball, a second pitcher. Coach Slaughter stated the junior has worked hard over the summer and should get her chances in 2006.

ďBasically we have a varsity roster that is made up of 12 people Iím very comfortable playing in just about any combination,Ē Slaughter said. ďWeíre going to have to hit the ball this year. The girls know that Iím going to go with the hot bats so our lineups are going to change on a regular basis.Ē

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