SCOOBA – A new era of East Mississippi Community College softball gets underway Friday when first-year head coach Kyndall White's Lady Lions travel to Raymond to open the 2013 season with a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Hinds Community College.
White, a former All-SEC infielder and three-time team captain at Auburn University, replaced former EMCC softball coach Kate Neely McCarty, who stepped down to become the school's event coordinator last year after guiding the Lady Lions to a fourth consecutive MACJC state softball tournament appearance.
The EMCC Lady Lions return eight players from last year's 18-24 squad that finished 12-12 in MACJC North Division play. In the field, former Clarkdale High School teammates Amber Spann (.350) and Alex Smith (.340) along with Franklin County's Allison Hauer (.343) all hit .340 or better a year ago.
Also returning from last season are infielders Charly Boswell (Northeast Lauderdale HS),Sarah Dudley (Kemper Academy), Amelia LaVergne (Notre Dame HS in Rayne, LA) and Misty Richard (West Lauderdale HS) along with outfielder Haley Tutor, of Columbus' New Hope High School.
Out-of-state newcomers Kendra Wilson, of South Lamar High School in Millport, Ala., and Halie Green, from Teurlings Catholic High School in Lafayette, La., figure to be the team's primary pitchers heading into the season.
The 2013 Lady Lions also feature nine freshmen from the Mississippi high school ranks, including former Clarkdale teammates Abby Roberts and Sarah Harris, who helped lead the Bulldogs to the 2012 MHSSA Class 2A state fast-pitch softball championship. Fellow newcomer Jade Albritton also experienced a state fast-pitch title a year ago as a member of the Class 5A champion Wayne County High School War Eagles.
Rounding out EMCC's 2013 freshman class include Meri Morgan Fortune (South Panola HS), Brooksville's Corey Dawkins (Pickens Academy [AL]), Kendal Carpenter (Northeast Lauderdale HS), Tori Seymour (D'Iberville HS), Angel Johnson (Quitman HS), and Taylor Hackney (Bayou Academy).
Following Friday's softball season opener at Hinds, the EMCC Lady Lions are slated to begin their 2013 home schedule with a week-long home stand against MACJC South Division foes. Copiah-Lincoln Community College will be on the Scooba campus for a Tuesday (Feb. 12) twin bill beginning at 1 p.m. Pearl River Community College and Hinds CC then come to town for 3 p.m. doubleheaders on Feb. 15 and 18, respectively, at the EMCC Softball Field.