CHS coach pleased with growth
Marty Stamper/EMG sports assistant
Feb. 21, 2002
When it comes to fast-pitch softball in Mississippi, Clarkdale was one of the first five schools to play the sport.
Lady Bulldogs' eighth-year coach Rick Roberson is proud of the sport's growth to the point where this year there will be four state champions crowned for the first time.
In 1995 and 1996, there was no state championship. In 1997 and 1998, all schools played in one classification. In 1999, the state was divided into three classes – 5A, 4A, and 1A-2A-3A. This year, Class 3A becomes a separate classification.
For several years, Clarkdale has had to wage battles with Newton County and Union just to get out of its division. Newton County is now in the 3A league, while Union has moved into the 1A-2A North State.
Several area teams are competing for the first time this spring.
The Lady Bulldogs still maintain a tough regular season schedule as they will head to the East Central Tournament at Hurley this weekend before playing in tournaments at Clinton and New Hope. The annual Clarkdale tournament is set for March with 24 teams scheduled to participate.
Clarkdale returns five starters off last year's 27-10 team that reached the second round of the state playoffs. Back on the mound is sophomore Emily Howard, who was 20-7 as a freshman. Also seeing time on the mound and at third base is junior JorD'an Orr, who is the leading returning hitter after a .479 sophomore season. She was 7-3 on the mound.
Bethany Spidle, a sophomore, will be in right field with sophomore Megan Potate seeing time at shortstop and behind the plate. Also returning as a starter is sophomore second baseman Brandi Wright.
The team's lone senior is first baseman Ashley Satcher, who missed the 2001 season with an injury. Also back in the lineup after missing last year due to injury is junior center fielder Emily Watson.
Others expected to either start or see significant playing time are eighth grader Sabrina Woodall at first base or the outfield, eighth grader Savannah Satcher in left field, eighth grader Lindsey Dawkins at shortstop, and eighth grader Brandi Limerick on the mound or at third base when Orr pitches. Sophomore Casey Meador will see time at catcher.
Howard struck out 150 batters in 149 innings as a freshman. She tossed two no-hitters and six one-hitters.
The Lady Bulldogs are 3-1 with wins over Morton, Columbia, and Northeast Jones to go with a loss to Newton County.