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Clarkdale readies for charge at title

By Staff
TWO WINS AWAY Clarkdale infielder Megan Potate moves to her right to track down a ground ball for the Lady Bulldogs, who are two wins away from the 1/2A state title. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
April 29, 2004
One would think everything is in place for Clarkdale's Lady Bulldogs to waltz their way to their second fast-pitch softball state championship in the next few days.
After all, the tournament-tested Lady Bulldogs have advanced to the finals where they'll take on a first-year school in Desoto Central.
Not only are the Lady Jaguars a first-year program, the school has no students above the 10th grade.
But this isn't your typical first-year program, Clarkdale head coach Rick Roberson is quick to point out.
Desoto Central is a new school created to catch the overflow from Southaven High School and anyone familiar with fast-pitch knows how good the Southaven program has been.
If that doesn't grab your attention, consider the 25-8 Lady Jags went to Class 1A/2A defending state champion Mooreville last Saturday and disposed of the Lady Troopers in two games to advance to the state finals. Desoto won the opener 1-0 and completed the sweep with a 7-4 victory in the second game.
Sarah Gill tossed a one-hit shutout in the opener.
In the second game,Desoto spotted Mooreville a 4-0 lead before storming back.
Mooreville defeated Clarkdale in the 2003 finals.
Clarkdale will go to Southaven Saturday to open the series with a 3 p.m. contest. Action resumes on Monday at Clarkdale at 2 p.m. with the if-necessary' game to follow.
Head coach Phyllis Jones' Lady Jags set a lofty goal of winning the state championship before the start of the 2004 season and are two wins away from reaching that goal.
That's a goal Clarkdale can identify with. In their 10th season of fast-pitch, the Lady Bulldogs have a 191-74 all-time record.
Clarkdale finished fifth in 1998 when it was the only Class 2A school playing the sport, which had only one classification in its infant years.
In 1999, the Lady Bulldogs came in third when their tournament was composed of Classes 1A/2A/3A. After 3A was given its own class, Clarkdale won the 1A/2A state title in 2002 and finished second to Mooreville in 2003.
Jones knows that Clarkdale will present a challenge for her girls.
Roberson will be counting on senior left-handed pitcher Emily Howard (19-3) to keep the Lady Jags in check.
One thing the Lady Bulldogs haven't done is win a state championship on their own field in either fast-pitch or slow-pitch.
Other starters include sophomore Sabrina Woodall at first base, senior Brandi Wright, a four-year starter, at second base; freshman Alyssa Bye at shortstop, senior Casey Meador, a three-year starter, at catcher; speedy sophomore leadoff batter Kimbo Seale in left field, eighth grader Lauren Robinson in center field, sophomore Savannah Satcher in right field, and designated hitters Whitney Drachenberg and Ashley Bye. Others factoring into the equation are courtesy runners Chassidy Roberts, Lindsay Dawkins, and Tessa Gamble.
Assistant coaches are Brent Bennett, Robbi Cooper, and Morris Stamm.