Seniors hope to go out with bang

Published 4:35 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The six seniors on Chilton County High School’s softball roster have been through a lot together.

They hope to add one more experience to that list this season: the Class 5A state tournament.

They’ve been close. The Tigers were one win away from state before they were eliminated in the 2010 season.

That was followed by a disappointing 2011 campaign, which will make this season even more important.

Though they’ve won a lot of games, CCHS coach Krisi Parrish said she wants to see the seniors display a determination they haven’t always shown.

“That’s kind of what we’ve lacked in the past,” Parrish said. “We say it, but then we don’t show it on the field. This is their last chance to do it.”

The group played together on the junior varsity squad as seventh graders, in 2007. Brianna Cleckler, Kadie Coker and Lindsey Parrish were called into varsity action the next season as pitchers.

Mary Katherine Graham, April Lewis and Lauren Stewart were called up the following year, as freshmen, to reunite the group.

Now they will again form the backbone of a team with lofty expectations.

Stewart underwent shoulder surgery less than two months ago, so she will likely begin the season in a designated hitter role, Krisi Parrish said, while Graham takes over Stewart’s first base position.

Cleckler will be the squad’s primary pitcher, with Coker right behind her and manning left field when she’s not on the mound.

April Lewis will play third base, and Lindsey Parrish will play second base and see time as a pitcher.

Filling out the usual starting lineup will be freshman Kricket Caton at catcher, sophomore Holly Watts at shortstop, sophomore Brooke Lewis at center field and sophomore Hanna Jackson at right field.

Graham and Watts are in similar situations: though they will be counted on in positions they’ve never played at the varsity level, they do have some experience at first base and shortstop, respectively, while playing for travel teams, Krisi Parrish said.

Some of the seniors have already been rewarded for their excellence. Stewart has committed to play for Faulkner State Community College in Bay Minette; Cleckler and Lewis have been offered spots on the Gadsden State Community College squad; and Coker has been in contact with Faulkner University in Montgomery.

The Tigers open their season Friday as they play in a tournament hosted by Holtville. Their first home game is March 1, when Brookwood visits.

2012 schedule

Feb. 24: at Holtville Invitational Tournament

March 1: Brookwood

March 2: at Calera Eagle Classic

March 5: Marbury

March 8: at Central-Tuscaloosa

March 12: at Jemison

March 13: at Shelby Co.

March 22: at Thorsby

March 23: at Bibb Co.

April 3: Thorsby

April 5: Central-Tuscaloosa

April 10: Paul Bryant

April 12: at Brookwood

April 16: Bibb Co.

April 17: at Paul Bryant

April 19: at Marbury

April 20: Holtville

April 23: Jemison

April 24: Shelby Co.