Belgreen softball tournament begins today

By Staff
Mike Self FCT Sports Editor
Three Franklin County teams will play tonight and another will take the field on Saturday as the 2006 NCIST Tournament gets underway this weekend in Belgreen.
Red Bay and Vina will start things off today at 4 p.m., followed by a game between host Belgreen and Phillips at 5:15 p.m. The losers of those two games will meet at 6:30 p.m., and the winners will face off at 7:45 p.m.
Phil Campbell will open play Saturday morning at 10:15 a.m. against Cherokee, immediately after Speake and Colbert Heights are finished playing the first game of the day.
The losers of those two games will play at 11:30 a.m., followed by the winners at 12:45 p.m.
A single-elimination tournament will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, with the final game of the night scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m.
All five teams in Class 2A, Area 16 (Belgreen, Red Bay, Phil Campbell, Cherokee and Colbert Heights) are participating in this weekend's tournament.
"We play in a very tough area," Belgreen coach Frank Billingham said. "I think we're going to have a pretty strong team but I don't want to make any predictions on how we're going to do this year, simply because of who we have to play."
The Lady Bulldogs return all 11 players from last season, including seniors Sarah Billingham, Kendra Oliver, Jordan Clark, Kala Dill, Whitney Tittle and Trista Johnson.
Billingham and Oliver will again be Belgreen's primary pitchers.
"Both of those girls have been pitching for quite a while," Frank Billingham said. "I think we should be strong in that area."
Dill returns to shortstop, and Tittle is back at first base. Clark will hold down center field, and Johnson will also play in the outfield.
Sophomore Mickie Manning will handle the catching duties, and junior Erica Rickard will play third base.
Junior Lindsey Barber will be at second, and junior Mary Billingham and sophomore Megan Tverberg will play in the outfield.
"I've seen some positive things from our girls so far in practice," Billingham said. "We're playing better on defense and we're making pretty good contact at the plate. Hopefully that will allow us to generate more offense this season while also preventing our opponents from scoring too many runs."

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