The Meridian Community College softball team will begin their season on the road, Friday and Saturday, February 7 and 8, at the Visit Dothan Invitational in Dothan, Al. The Lady Eagles are scheduled to play four games this weekend. The Lady Eagles are coming off their best season in recent history with a record of 23-13.
Head Coach Faith Robinson said, "I am beyond pumped to open up this weekend. The girls have really been grinding since the beginning of school, and are ready to put their hard work into action. The Visit Dothan Invitational, hosted by the reigning national champions Chipola College, is definitely going to be challenging. Still, with this group, I believe we are ready to attack the season head-on. "Coach Robinson added, "The MACJC is the most competitive conference in NJCAA D2, however MCC softball is coming off a solid 2019 season and is built with a winning mentality. We are finally getting back to the tradition that is MCC is the team to beat on the diamond."
The Lady Eagles look to return the heart of the batting order from last season. Alyssa Branyan was tied for the lead on the team in home runs last season with 8 while batting .326. Branyan will anchor the lineup and hold down first base for the Lady Eagles. Kelsey Patterson also had 8 home runs and batted .366 last season will start the season at second base. Megan Lightcap batted .302 and belted 4 home runs last season as the designated player. Jackie Lahaie batted .292 and 2 home runs while Jaelynn Palmer hit .292 and 1 home run for the Lady Eagles last season. Along with the power in the lineup, the Lady Eagles have speed on the bases as well. Tykira Bouldin will anchor the outfield in center, and Keyara Hinton will patrol right field, and both are a threat to steal any base. Valirea Sentelle will bat lead-off for the Lady Eagles and, with her strong arm will hold down opposing runners from left field.
The Lady Eagles will be young in the circle this season. Megan Lightcap is the only returning sophomore this year. Last season Lightcap only appeared in 11 games and had 3 strikeouts. Newcomers like Annaleigh Phillips and Kaylynn Vicknair will have to step up for the Lady Eagles this season. Coach Robinson said. "Annaleigh has the speed from the circle we like, and Kaylynn throws a lot of junk to keep opposing batters off balance."
Starting at shortstop this season will be Freshman Briana Zapata from St. Martin High School. Catching for the Lady Eagles will be Freshman Sarah Vice from Vancleave High School. Other Lady Eagles that Coach Robinson expects to see plenty of action are Chelsie Carr from Bay Springs High School, Chenai Keyes from Taylorsville High School, and Carolyn Robertson from Magee High School. "Chelsie is a quiet threat, and Chenai has crazy power at the plate," according to Robinson. Coach Robinson also said, "Carolyn brings a smoothness offensively and defensively behind the plate."
Coach Robinson said, " We have more depth this year than any previous recent seasons. We have a solid group of sophomores to lead the team and some freshmen ready to bring the fire. I'm excited to watch them do what they love."
If you would like to keep up with the Lady Eagles this season, please visit our website, www.mcceagles.com, for all schedules, stats, and news. We look forward to seeing you at Tommy McDonald Field this spring.