By Thomas Sellers Jr.
So long Seeley.
Goodbye to the all-time leader in wins for Brighton Lady Cardinal Softball. Farewell District 13-3A MVP and All-Region ace. Adiós key bat and senior leader who guided Brighton to the 2016 Class 3A State Softball Tournament.
When Seeley Layne wrapped up her decorated prep career with a trip to State, Brighton Head Coach Robin Jacobs knew this day would come. The day he would play without her in the black and red.
But the veteran Skipper knew he had a full roster returning for the 2017 campaign.
“We try to reload and not rebuild,” Jacobs said. “We’ve got a good pitcher in Marissa Moss. It’s going to be her turn to be the pitcher. This is not new ground for her, but it is different. She’s a little different pitcher from Seeley. She probably won’t pitch every game. But she’ll do a lot of pitching. We’ve got two other good girls. Marissa is a very good pitcher. On her good day, we’ll be a very good team.”
Those two other good pitchers are Hannah Benard and Ryley Myers. They will be in the mix this season.
When it comes to run production the Lady Cardinals will look similar to the potent 2016 lineup.
“We’ll move Marissa up to where Seeley batted,” Jacobs noted. “That will probably be it. We’ll make that one change there. Hopefully Riley will hit a whole lot better. She’s hit well this spring and she’ll be back in the lineup.
“We’ve got speed throughout the lineup,” he added. “Something we’ve had the past couple of years. We’ll run the bases and try to get extra bases. They’re all exciting and we’re glad to have all of them back this year.”
That speed starts with junior center fielder Ta’mya Johnson. Also expect run production from fellow junior Gracie Poirier. Other key bats will be Amanda Perry, Haley Rider, Kailee Hunt and Currie McIntyre.
Currie will resume her role as catcher and directing the infield. Johnson is the general in the outfield covering a lot of ground.
Jacobs said he hopes his team adjusts to life after Seeley quickly in order to survive a tough District 13-3A with Hardin County Lady Tigers, Dyer County Lady Choctaws and Munford Lady Cougars.
“We’ve just got to beat them, Jacobs said. “That’s the No. 1 thing. They’re good teams and they will be improved. All those reams have improved and we’re going to have a good team. The big question is how much have we improved. If we’re better, we’ll beat them.
“If we’re not, it’s going to be a struggle,” he continued. “They’ve all got good teams and the law of averages they’re going to catch us at some point. Hopefully not in the near future but it will be at some point.”
Brighton will take on a tough pre-district schedule and travel across the Mid-South to try to reach their early May goal.
“If we can get the No. 1 or No. 2 spot in district, we’ll feel pretty good about advancing in Region,” he concluded. “We’ve got the chemistry down with this bunch. We’ve got a great group of kids. Kids who played ball with each other all the time. Just being around them, you can tell they are a different bunch. They’re real competitive and they seem to hang around each other during the tough times.”