Lady Cats ready for 'second season'

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Mar. 15, 2007 - After finishing the pre-district softball schedule with an 11-9 record, SSHS head coach David Carrillo calls this the Lady Cats' second season.

"We are going into our second season. I tell our girls that we have three seasons and this is the middle one," the coach said. "We are going to go to the playoffs and into that third season. We've got a lot of payback from last year, and I am ready to see how our girls react to this."

Sulphur Springs finished last season in fourth place in district with a 3-7 record behind Texas High - whom they face on Friday night in the District 11-4A opener - Mount Pleasant and Paris, but Carrillo sees the district different this year.

"I know the whole district is about even and every team has a marquee pitcher this year. The pitching is what is going to make the games really tight and real close," he said.

"I can't say who the front runner is right now. I would say T-High and Lindale are teams that I could pick out off the top of my head."

Texas High defeated Sulphur Springs in both games last season with a 4-0 win in the first round of district and then defeated them 2-1 in Texarkana.

The remaining district schedule has Mount Pleasant traveling to Paris, while North Lamar faces state-ranked Lindale.

Carrillo said this year's team has fought hard during its pre-district season in winning more games than they did last year as they are 11-9 on the year. SSHS finished 9-14-1 last year.

"I feel pretty good about our team. I think we have seen some great pitching and we have had to come from behind in some games this year," he said. "I think we are getting better in playing the whole game and our girls have no quit in them."

With only three seniors on the team for the second straight year, the Lady Cats will be looking for leadership from Jordan Anderson, Tarra Morton and Kristen McDonald.

Carrillo said he will go with two pitchers in junior Marci Womack and freshman Taylor Clifton, but expects to see a lot of Womack.

"Marci and Taylor are going to be the rotation, and Marci will carry a lot of the load this year," the coach said. "Offensively, I feel pretty good about the lineup and we will be putting kids in and out on the team."

Another area that the Lady Cats are looking at is at catcher after an injury sidelined Anderson during their tournament in Allen.

"Right now, it is a good problem to have with us having two catchers in Maurie (Lewis) and Krista (McMahan). They are both doing a great job and they are doing whatever I ask them to do," he said. "Both of them have seen good pitching and they have responded well this year."

He said a team that could really make things tough this year is No. 12-ranked Lindale, who joined the district this year after realignment occurred in the fall.

"I expect Lindale to be tough and they are ranked around 12th right now," Carrillo said. "They are about two years removed from winning a Class 3A state championship. They are going to be really tough and there is no break in our district with any team."

Paris once again has a strong team, according to Carrillo and returns the Co-Newcomer of the Year in Jerissa Patt and First Team pitcher Julie Essary.

North Lamar is also stacked once again with the Co-Freshman of the Year in Ashley Endsley and Second Team pitcher Kaci Crawford.

"Everybody has a good pitcher and Paris has been doing well in the preseason," the coach said. "We saw them at Allen and they look like they are doing a good job. I think there record is 12-3 right now. Paris North Lamar is doing well from what I have heard and seen so far.

"This whole district is well -oached and it depends on which team can step up on what night and play the best, and any team can beat anybody in this district."

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