Youthful Lady Tiger roster ready to take field for 2015

The Demopolis High softball team is set to begin its season with a tall task against Spain Park Friday evening.

Taking to the field for the Lady Tigers this year will be one of the younger teams in recent history as Jade Montgomery and Cameron Thomason stand as the lone seniors on the squad.

“This is still a young team with only two seniors returning from last years squad. There will be times where things aren’t going the way we want them to,” first-year Demopolis head coach Stephen Campbell said. “We are still learning on working through situations where we don’t execute as well as we should. We have to learn to keep our composure when things aren’t going well.”

Sophomore Abbey Latham returns as the incumbent starter at catcher. Thomason and junior Rachel Smith will handle first base duties.

Junior Anna Caroline Logan returns at second base where eighth grader Elly Brown will also see time.

Sophomore Courtney Smith returns as third base while freshman Kendall Hannah takes over at shortstop where Brown also figures to see time.

The outfield duties fall to Montgomery and junior Jessica Adams as returners as well as seventh grader Taylor Smith, junior Holli Gandy and freshmen Napoleon Roberson and Kayla Montz.

The pitching duties will fall to junior Hanna Malone and freshman Natalie Tatum.

Despite the youth that fills the roster, Demopolis returns eight starters from a season ago.

“On defense, this team has cleaned up a lot of simple mistakes we were making last year,” Campbell said. “With eight returning starters, they have matured another year and have played together another year. They know what each one is doing before they even do it.”

With defense showing rapid improvement, most of the questions for the 2015 Lady Tigers will revolve around how quickly they can begin to find their offensive identity.

“Hitting is something that teams always need to improve on. I am looking at the bottom of the lineup to continue to improve,” Campbell said. “To be successful, we will need production from the bottom of the lineup. I like our top three hitters in our lineup. Some girls behind them are starting to hit their stride. If we can get production from the bottom of the lineup, then I like what this team is capable of doing.

Despite the youthful nature of his team, Campbell did not shy away from a challenging season-long gauntlet of a schedule that includes plenty of metropolitan powerhouses.

“We open up with Spain Park, are very talented 7A team. The following week we play Tuscaloosa County High and Northridge, both two very good teams in the Tuscaloosa area,” Campbell said. “The Gulf Shores tournament always bring the best of the best to their tournament. We play ACA, Northridge, and West Blocton this year. All three teams will be difficult tests. Hale County is a defending state championship team.’

With a thin roster full of young players, running through the grueling schedule that awaits the Lady Tigers will require a little bit of luck and plenty of good breaks in the injury department.

“We are not very deep at some key positions. We have to keep the girls healthy throughout the year. We have a small margin for error when it comes to the health of this team,” Campbell said.

The Lady Tigers are set for their home opener Tuesday against Washington County at 4:30 p.m.