DMS Lady Tigers celebrate historic season

The 2013 DMS Lady Tiger softball team consisted of Lara Little, Abbey Latham, Macey Petrey, Courtney Smith, Caitlin Thrash, Julia Veres, Ashley Brooks, Mary-Michael Bradley, Kendall Hannah, Natalie Tatum, McKenzie Walker, Napoleon Roberson, Ashleigh Ivory, Kayla Montz, managers Corie Hall and Stevie Fields, and coaches Blythe Smith and Jeff Latham.

The 2013 DMS Lady Tiger softball team consisted of Lara Little, Abbey Latham, Macey Petrey, Courtney Smith, Caitlin Thrash, Julia Veres, Ashley Brooks, Mary-Michael Bradley, Kendall Hannah, Natalie Tatum, McKenzie Walker, Napoleon Roberson, Ashleigh Ivory, Kayla Montz, managers Corie Hall and Stevie Fields, and coaches Blythe Smith and Jeff Latham.

As local high school teams head into the home stretch of their respective seasons, the Demopolis Middle School softball squad is celebrating one of the most successful campaigns in school history.

The Lady Tigers end with a mark of 16-13-2, a number that reportedly represents the most single season wins in program history. Additionally, the win mark moves the program’s two-year victory tally to 31, another school milestone.

“I am incredibly proud of this group of girls. Every one of the players improved and that is our job as coaches,” coach Blythe Smith said. “Based on the results from the past two seasons, I look forward to seeing what the high school program will do over the next three to four years. There is a lot of talent to work with!”

The Lady Tigers achieved the winning mark despite an arduous schedule that included five tournaments as well as numerous one-shot dates with larger programs.

Macey Petrey, Abbey Latham, Lara Little and Kendall Hannah each hit home runs for the DMS Lady Tigers this season.

Macey Petrey, Abbey Latham, Lara Little and Kendall Hannah each hit home runs for the DMS Lady Tigers this season.

“We played a tough schedule and could have easily ended up with a losing record, but we wanted to challenge the girls,” coach Jeff Latham said of the 2013 season. “This group is extremely talented, but needed to be toughened up before moving to high school ball. We ended the season a much tougher and more focused team than when we started, so I would say the season was a success.”

The DMS Lady Tigers entered the campaign with only a handful of experienced players after losing an octet of players to the high school level following the 2012 season. For Latham and Smith, breaking in the new group meant fostering chemistry and togetherness.

“Trying to get these young ladies to play as a team,” Latham said of the greatest challenge the team faced this season. “As is often the case, when you have several star players on a team, it doesn’t automatically mean you will have a great team. I would not say we ended the season with a great team but we took a giant step in that direction.”

The 2013 season also marked tremendous progress from a program perspective as DMS Lady Tiger supporters helped erect a fence around the team’s practice field in addition to securing resources and funds for various endeavors along the way.

Among other superlatives achieved by the DMS Lady Tigers on the field, the squad saw four different players send balls out of the park in 2013.

“We had four kids hit home runs this season. Those same four players hit over 80 out in practice after our fence was built,” Latham said of seventh grader Kendall Hannah and eighth graders Abbey Latham, Macey Petrey and Lara Little. “Their ability to drive the ball drastically increased as the season progressed. We have a young bomb squad coming up and they will be fun to watch.”

And as the DMS squad reflects on the season that was, the team’s coaches are left focused upon the campaigns left to come.

“The future is bright,” Latham said of what is on the horizon for Demopolis softball.