Lady Bulldogs re-load for another championship run
However a tough 7-6, extra inning loss to East Central In the championship game of the MACJC Tournament and two close-but-no-cigar efforts against eventual NJCAA D-II Champion LSU-Eunice in the Region 23 Tournament bring plenty of motivation to head coach Kenneth Long and six returning sophomores.
“We know we have the talent to compete with any team out there,” said Long, who’s entering his 11th season as head coach (340-112). “Once again I think we have the right mix of sophomore leadership and talented incoming freshmen.”
Long will have four returning sophomores to rely on, including pitcher/first baseman Kris Albritton. As a freshman the Gulfport native batted .336 with 3 homeruns and 36 RBI. She also went 2-0 as a pitcher and earned All-Region 23 honors. Albritton joins second baseman Courtney Moore (Vancleave), centerfielder Katy White (Stone), outfielder Shajuan Buckley (Gulfport), catcher/third baseman Ciera Deroche (Houma, LA), and catcher Britton Ross (Long Beach) as the squad’s sophomore leaders.
“Courtney Moore started every game for us at second base,” Long said. “Katy White is one of the fastest players in the State, Shajuan Buckley is fast and can hit for power, Ciera Deroche will catch and play third base for us, and Britton Ross is a terrific hitter.”
Added to the mix this season are nine incoming freshmen, headlined by two-time Sun Herald Player of the Year Morgan Fairley. The outfielder from George County was the Most Valuable Player at the 2011 Mississippi High School All-Star Game and also earned All-State and All-District recognition in 2011. Fairley’s George County teammate Lea Kittrell also comes to Gulf Coast with an all-Star pedigree, as do pitcher Megan Lamb (Dickinson, TX), pitcher Julie Butler (Stone), pitcher Fallon Dyle (St. Martin), and infielder Hanna Murray (East Central). Pitcher Olivia Ladner (Hernando) and infielders Latesha Ancar (Port Sulphur, LA) and Lauren Box (Greene Co.) also rank high on the recruiting list.
“This group of freshmen has a chance to be very good here,” Long added.
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