Lady Eagles' confidence is high entering tourney
May 16, 2001
Thoughts whizzing about while being thankful to be off that bus and coming to the realization that you know you are in Florida when there's a palm tree right outside the door of your room even when said room is on the third floor…
KISSIMMEE, Fla. Ahh…Nothing gets the thoughts rolling like a good 11-hour bus ride.
For the second consecutive year, the Meridian Community College Lady Eagles softball team hit the road bound for the land of Mickey, Goofy and Donald Duck. But the Lady Eagles are not in search of the best rides or shows but a national title in fast-pitch softball.
And thankfully, for the second consecutive year, they were gracious enough to allow me to tag along.
Maybe it's because many of them have been here before, but this year the air is decidedly different.
It seems a lot more laid back, more…businesslike.
But exactly how much does experience help when you are facing the Arizona Westerns, Chattanooga States and Utah Valleys of the softball world?
One player who has been here before, but this year is playing a larger role, is sophomore catcher Ashleigh Hicks.
Tuesday night, Hicks clued me in that the "air" I was feeling was no coincidence.
Players like herself and Nicole Jones, who were here last year, but basically had to sit back and watch are now ready to take on the mantle at the Osceola County Softball Complex and help get the school's first-ever win.
There seems to be no lack of confidence in this bunch, that's for sure.
They'll certainly need it.
Even if you somehow didn't know this was a national championship field, one look at MCC's 15 other opponents slaps you back to reality.
The Lady Eagles have played 51 games this year with two or three falling by the wayside to rainouts and cancellations.
Half of the tournament field has more wins than that.
But are they just numbers?
61, 58, 52, 63, 57, 63, 60. A lot of wins by some stiff competition. But consider last year.
An MCC team as green as their uniforms waltzed in to OCSC and very nearly put away the greatest JUCO softball dynasty in the country in Central Arizona in the first game.
This year, the key again lies in getting that first win. My guess is if they can beat a 50-10 St. Louis-Meramec, that will set the ball in motion. This team has a .323 batting average.
The staff ace in Amy Adcox is 27-3 with a microscopic 0.98 earned run average.
Ryan Reid, the No. 2 starter, does have a 12-8 record, but consider her ERA, 2.30, that's not exactly horrid.
Head coach Robert Eakins summed it up just as the group was boarding the bus to go to supper Tuesday night.
He just might be on to something.
We'll see soon enough.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. You can call him at 693-1551, ext. 3234 or E-mail him at email@example.com.