By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Robin Jacobs is used to seeing his Brighton Lady Cardinals play in Regionals, Sub-State rounds and even the State Tournaments.
But last year the season ended for the Lady Cardinals on their homefield in the District 13-3A Tournament. With most of the players back from that team a year wiser and motivated, Jacobs said he is ready to guide Brighton back to a deep postseason run.
“Last year didn’t end like we wanted to,” he acknowledged. “In districts, two of our three games were very, very tough. We beat Dyer County, had to come back and beat them. We had just an exciting
game with Munford and got beat 5-4. We were able to rebound from that. I’m hoping that was because we were a little young. We were just gassed after that game. That took a lot of emotion out of us.
“We’re looking to get back to that point to where we can compete for that district championship,” he continued. “Right now Munford is the team to chase. Hardin County, the last four or five years, has gotten into that hunt. They’re either playing us or Munford for the title. Dyer County will have a good team. Jackson North Side is struggling a little bit. We’re hoping to get back in there.”
Munford has made two straight trips to State and return a loaded lineup. Brighton’s outlook is similar with eight seniors on the roster Laura Judy, McCallie Ruffin, Morgan Shaver, Haley Craig, Lulu Smith, Hadley Wilkins, Bri McBride and Hunter Simpson.
“Last year we weren’t very experienced,” Jacobs said. “We had juniors playing but they hadn’t played a lot of ball at this level. Hopefully this will help us this year.”
One of Brighton’s experience players will be pitcher Laura Judy. The senior hurler pitched all the big games for the Lady Cardinals last year. She will help groom freshman pitcher Seelay Layne throughout the season.
Judy is also a crucial bat near the top of the Brighton lineup.
“We’ve got a couple of kids who do really well hitting,” Jacobs said. “We just don’t have all them hitting at the same time. Hadley Wilkins and Ali Christmas are our go-to right now.
“They’re steady,” he added. “Laura Judy does pretty good for us. After that, people have been hitting but they’re so sadricit. We’ve got to get more consistent at hitting, bunting and taking care of leads in the late innings.”
Jacobs said his 2013 batting order will step into the box with experience and a better comfort level facing top notch pitchers from across the Mid-South. Jacobs said if his line up has consistency, they will give teams like Munford, Hardin County, Arlington, Bolton and Bartlett a challenge in the Region.
“We were 28-9 last year,” he said “We had a good team. But we just didn’t finish like we needed to. We have a challenging schedule too.
“When we first got into the Region from Double A, we were sort of picked on as the stepchild,” Jacobs concluded. “Then we dominated for a while. Then we sort of fell off the radar. I can’t lie, I sort of like them chasing me. I don’t mind this spot here. It’s a pretty good feeling to know you’ve got a good bunch. We’re shooting to get back there. We want to be chased, but right now we’re doing the chasing. Maybe one time they don’t look back and we get them all. We’re doing the chasing right now and we just want a chance to win our games.”