Clarkdale looks for another championship
By By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
Aug. 15, 2002
A young Clarkdale Lady Bulldog team came within one game of winning the MHSAA State 2A Slow-Pitch Championship last year.
Hatley High, however, rallied from a one-game deficit to win the title and deny Clarkdale a fourth state crown in slow-pitch.
The Lady Bulldogs regained a measure of satisfaction capturing the 1A-2A MHSAA Fast-Pitch Championship last May. Making the finals in both softball sports, puts Clarkdale in an elite status with the likes of Newton County, Amory and New Hope.
Now, veteran Clarkdale head coach Rick Roberson hopes last year's hurt can be a motivating factor for this year's team.
"It was a surprise that we got that far, but then you get disappointed that you didn't win it. But we were South State Champs and we won our division for the ninth straight year.
"Still, I thought Hatley was the best team. After we won the first game, they made adjustments and won the next two.
"Fast-pitch, was another story. I felt like we were the favorite from the start," he said.
Clarkdale struggled during the regular season last fall, taking a 17-10 record into the playoffs. But the record was deceiving. The Lady Bulldogs load their schedule with the state's best.
Clarkdale went 7-2 in the playoffs and finished the season with a 24-12 record.
"We were made by playing such a tough schedule," Roberson said. "We got beat four times by New Hope and they won 4A. It made us tough, and without question we hope this year's schedule will do that again."
After opening against playoff teams Quitman and West Lauderdale, Clarkdale will face 5A Clinton on Saturday and then go to a tournament in Kossuth. After that comes games against playoff powers Meridian and Union. In early September, Clarkdale heads back to the New Hope Tournament.
The team graduated just one senior off last year's team in All-Star first baseman Ashley Satcher.
Leading the way this year is returning short field starter in senior JorD'an Orr. She hit .520 in the leadoff role but was also capable of hitting the ball out of the park like she did in the South State playoffs against Mercy Cross.
"We depend on JorD'an to get things started," Roberson said.
The middle infield also returns in shortstop Megan Potate and second baseman Brandi Wright. Brandi Limerick is back at third base.
From there, Roberson has juggled some people around. Junior Emily Howard, who pitched most of the games last year, will move to right-center field. Lindsey Dawkins will take over on the mound.
Casey Meador is at catcher, but could also play at third and first. Savannah Satcher is in left while Sabrina Woodall moves over to replace Ashley Satcher at first base.
Alyssa Bye will play in right as Bethany Spidle recovers from a knee injury.
Roberson said he is also looking for Felicia Kirksey to provide the team with a bit more speed.