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2014 Spring Sports Previews: Lady Trojans ready to battle

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Ariel Trice Card

It seems every April or May, the Millington Lady Trojan Softball program celebrates the signing of a outgoing senior.
The latest was Casey Tarwater to Southwest Tennessee. Among all the departures from the Class of 2013, Tarwater left whole at the catcher position. Coming into the 2014 season, Millington Head Coach Rick Hearn has the challenge of finding an everyday backstop to replace the All-District Tarwater.
“We’re still searching for that right now,” he said. “She really didn’t have much experience behind her. Ashlee Bone is working there. And Kayla Crampton is seeing some time there. That’s a big question mark along with our pitching.”
Last season Tarwater nursed a young pitching staff through the competitive District 14-3A season. Although the pitching corps. is still youthful, Hearn noted a couple of his girls have gained a year of experience.
“Ally Hall got some experience last year pitching a lot of JV games and some varsity games in relief,” he noted. “She’s improved and she’s willing to work. So we’re hoping she’ll come around. You always need pitching and can never have enough.”
The Lady Trojans graduated Rebecca Smart, who was the main starter last season. Emily Stewart returns to the staff and Hearn will work freshman McKenzie Strickland into the rotation.
The Lady Trojans will have experience and speed at the plate. Maybe the next Lady Trojan in line to sign at the next is senior Ariel Trice. Hearn expects her to be a leader on and off the diamond.
The veteran skipper is also counting on Trice to bring some pop to the middle of the lineup.
“We have two at the top in Mollie Malito and Katie Dupree,” he noted. “Both are left-handed slappers. They’ve shown that they are capable of putting the ball on the ground and they run real well.
“We’ve got to get them to bunt the ball in fair territory and get down the line to put pressure on defenses,” Hearn added. “Ariel will try to drive them in. Ariel will be hitting in the middle of the lineup. She’s capable and strong.”
Other Lady Trojan bats to look out for are Emily Stewart and Mia Prescott. Hall can be a productive stick in the batting order as well.
With Hall in on the rubber, Hearn hopes the defense behind her will be active and accurate. Once again Trice will be a leader by example for the Lady Trojans.
“We have some experience especially with Ariel Trice at third,” he said. “She’s played there since a freshman off and on. We’ve played her some at short and outfield. But she’s more comfortable at third base.
“Katie Dupree will move from second over to shortstop to replace her cousin Katlyn,” Hearn continued. “Second base is kind of up in the air. We’ll give Strickland and Stewart a look there.”
The outfied will be anchored by centerfielder Molly Malido. She brings speed to the position and a solid arm for assists.
As February comes to an end, Hearn and his coaching staff featuring former Lady Trojans like Abby Mabry and Kasey Bomar are trying to put the pieces together to compete with district powers like Arlington, Bolton and Bartlett. Cordova and Kingsbury will also provide a solid challenge in 2014.
“It’s going to take pitching and being consistent on the mound,” Hearn concluded. “We’ve scored some runs the last two years. But we’ve been trying to develop pitching. We’ve got some girls willing to work and try to get consistent. That’s what we’ve got to get back to.”

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