South Fulton’s youth seen in latest state tournament lineup

South Fulton’s youth seen in latest state tournament lineup

By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
MURFREESBORO — Youth is certainly being served with this year’s South Fulton softball team.
Head coach Curt Lee started freshmen at third base (Aalia Bivens), first (Landry Webster), catcher (Cassidy Ruddle) and centerfield (Aariel Wright); and sophomores in rightfield (Kristen Crocker) and leftfield (Melanie Johnson) in Tuesday’s first round state tournament game against Richland.
That group was responsible for each of the Devilettes’ four hits in a 5-1 loss to the Lady Raiders, but showed its inexperience, too, according to head coach Curt Lee.
“I thought our youth was evident in that we didn’t get a couple of bunts down early with those girls. If we had have been able to advance baserunners in those times, we might’ve been able to break through,” the SF skipper said. “Those kids have come through multiple times in similar situations during the season and even in the tournaments. Today, though, I thought our youth came out in those instances.”
Lee — ever the taskmaster — admitted he has to remind himself to be patient with a roster that has, by most all accounts, overachieved by making it to the state tournament with its widespread inexperience.
“I can’t just assume they know; I have to talk to them a little more and remind them of things a little more than I have other bunches I’ve had because of their youth,” the coach said.
STUCK ON ZERO — South Fulton will try to keep University School of Johnson City from winning its first-ever state tournament game in this morning’s first losers’ bracket matchup.
The Lady Buccaneers, who lost to Oliver Springs 4-3 in a first-round matchup Tuesday, are now 0-7 all-time in four state tournament appearances.
SF is now 11-15 in its state tourney history and has won at least one game in each of its previous six trips to state.
The Red Devilettes have two third-place finishes, a pair of fourths and two fifth-place standings to show for their previous Spring Fling trips.
Both Oliver Springs and Gordonsville won Tuesday in their first-ever state tournament appearances. Gordonsvilleville beat perennial power and four-time state champion Trinity Christian Academy 4-2.
TCA is now 26-11 state tourney games.
Forrest is the only team other than the Lady Lions in this year’s field to have previously won a championship.
THIS AND THAT — A downpour that lasted about 20 minutes a couple of hours before Tuesday’s game was scheduled to start delayed the first pitch by a half-hour. The forecast is for a 60 percent chance of rain today. … Lee said he’ll go with Reams again today in the circle against USJC. … South Fulton still is the co-holder of the mark for most stolen bases in a state tournament. The Devilettes swiped 17 during the 2000 event, the same as Ezell-Harding that year. SF’s Sarah Hill stole 11 bases, a mark that still stands as the best ever.

Published in The Messenger 5.22.13

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