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Meridian counting on new faces

By By Ryan Satcher / staff writer
Aug. 14, 2003
Meridian High will look to three returning starters and a lot of new faces this season on the slow-pitch softball diamond.
"We have three returning starters that played varsity last year," said Meridian coach Susan Frazier. "Most of our nucleus is going to be young players."
Sophomore shortstop Artesian Boyd is a returning starter that the Lady Wildcats will depend on as well as senior pitcher Hallie Pearson and junior outfielder Carsheena Blanks.
Sophomore Tiffany Hickman should see time in the outfield along with eighth-grader Lindsay Lang and Blanks. Seniors April Pierce, Jessica Litton and Abby Hawkins will also see time in the outfield. Senior Sarah Denham joins the team this season and should also make an impact in the outfield.
The Lady Wildcats should be very young in the infield. Boyd will anchor the defense at shortstop while senior Amber Felton will take care of first base.
A pair of seventh graders will round out the infield as J'Quandra Hickman will play third base and Lainie Simcox will handle second base.
Senior Courtney Trotter will handle the catching duties for Meridian High this season. Lang, who started some in fast-pitch last year, will also see some time on the infield.
Hopefully, the younger players will be able to step up and make the defense solid for Meridian this season.
"You never know how the pressure will affect a younger player," said Frazier. "Usually, you have a lot of ups and downs as the season goes on. One day they may look great and the next day they may look like they need a little more work. Hopefully, we can find some consistency."
Blanks, Boyd and Felton should do well at the plate for the Lady Wildcats this season. MHS also has a lot of young bats that should put up some good numbers.
"A lot of our young players are strong hitters," said Frazier. "I think we have some pretty good basehitters."
The Lady Wildcats will compete with Hattiesburg and Forest Hill in division play. The top two teams in the division will advance to the playoffs.
"That's a different division from last year's slow-pitch," said Frazier. "I'm sure Hattiesburg and Forest Hill will have good programs. We hope to have success in the division, though."
A very tough local schedule should help Meridian prepare for division play and possibly the postseason. The Lady Wildcats will play area teams such as West Lauderdale, Clarkdale and Northeast and will also play 4A teams New Hope and Neshoba Central this season along with several other softball powers.
"We play a really tough schedule because you don't have to go far around here to get some really good softball," Frazier said. "Hopefully, playing a tough schedule will prepare us for our division."