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Lady Bears loaded again for softball season

Last year was a great season for Little Cypress Mauriceville in softball. The Lady Bears won thirty games, finished first place in a very difficult district, and made it to the third round of the state playoffs before being eliminated by the always loaded Liberty Lady Panthers.

LCM softball coach Dena Adkins assessed last season for her Lady Bears. "I am very proud of them. We finished first in district which is always our goal and the Lady Bears did that very well. We lost to a well-coached Liberty team again, but the kids played well. We did put some runs on the board against them, so I can't be too upset with how the season ended," Adkins recalled.

Only one senior was lost to graduation last year for Little Cypress Mauriceville. The rest of the Lady Bears return from that first place team of last season.

There are two top notch pitchers in Ella Stephenson and Tessa Erickson who will be throwing in the circle for the Lady Bears. The catching corps is experienced too with Lexis Moss and Jillian Brown both back. Keylie Washburn returns at third, Eden Frenzel covers the hole at shortstop again, and Jacelyn Cook continues at second to give LCM a solid infield.

Adkins has an outfield that is A+ with Ava Wright, Ava White, Abby Sepulvado, Alex Pinder, and Asia Woodson. Adkins admitted, "I have a really good team coming back, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do."

Two freshmen have looked good enough for the coach to consider playing them on the varsity this season. Kinsley Doucet plays third, catches, and can be used in a utility role just about anywhere on the field.

Kendall Jones is the other freshman who will see more time now that the Lady Bear basketball season is over. Jones is a fast running left handed hitter like Eden Frenzel that will play in the outfield and could possibly be behind the plate as a catcher. "She's speedy and can put the bat on the ball," Adkins added.

First base is the one position that does not have a returning starter for Little Cypress Mauriceville. Adkins explained, "I'll probably move Ava White from the outfield to first every once and awhile. Ella Stephenson will play first, Tessa will play first. We're going to have a rotating crew over there at first. We'll figure it out, but that's the one hole I needed to fill this year."

There should be nine batters swinging good sticks in the Lady Bear lineup. The difficulty for the coach may be figuring out which position in the batting order to put each one of them.

Eden Frenzel should get on base to get the offense started at the top of the batting order. Lexis Moss is expected to be a leader offensively for LCM with her homerun power. Tessa Erickson, Keylie Washburn, Jacelyn Cook, and Ava Wright all have the potential to do some damage at the plate with the long ball according to Adkins.

"I have three or four really big hitters that can put it over the fence. I look for Eden Frenzel to light things up as soon as she gets out of basketball and starts swinging the bat again. Ella Stephenson is a lefty that hits for power. Abby (Sepulvado) is speedy and she's going to get on base and cause some problems," Adkins elaborated.

"I hope we can up the steal game this year. I think I have three or four kids that can motor on the bases, so I hope to get them on and see what they can do to give the opposing catchers some problems," Adkins continued.

Pitching is a prime component for any good softball team. Little Cypress Mauriceville has two good pitchers to call upon in the circle.

Ella Stephenson is a junior with already two years on the varsity and begins the season as the number one pitcher in the circle for the Lady Bears. Adkins praised, "Ella has worked hard all summer and off season to get some more speed on the ball, and her spin looks really great as well. The ball moves really well. She had some great games last year in the district and in the playoffs, and I think she's matured a lot since last year."

Another good arm for Little Cypress Mauriceville is Tessa Erickson who is just a sophomore and saw a lot of innings in the circle as a freshman as the number two starter behind Stephenson. Erickson can put some fire on the ball, hit her spots very well, and still have movement on her pitches.

"Ella and Tessa don't have too many off dates in the circle, and when they do I can flip flop them pretty easily. It's a good problem to have as a coach," Adkins commented.

In preparation for the always difficult district competition LCM has a hard tournament schedule to start the season that Coach Adkins has setup for the team. Goose Creek is first, then the Lady Bears travel to Sweeney, and followed by a new tournament they will go to in Franklin should show the Lady Bears some teams they might see in the second round of the playoffs.

Adkins analyzed, "I like going to these challenging tournaments to see pitchers we don't normally see and speed we don't see. It helps us to mix it up to give the girls as much exposure as we can."

Expectations are always high for LCM during softball such as thirty wins and a district championship. "As always I want the Lady Bears to do their best and come out on top in district. We're going to have a pretty good adversary I think in Bridge City this year. You've got to beat the best, and hopefully we get out there to do what we need to do against them. I would sure like to win district and then go as far as we possibly can in the playoffs. I would love to see Austin one year and get all the way out there to see what we can do," Adkins concluded.

 

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