MONROEVILLE – If one word could sum up how Alabama Southern Softball Coach Brooke Powell feels about the upcoming spring season, it would likely be "compete."
It is a theme she emphasizes often with her players, in practice, in fall games and it will likely be a word heard welling up from the dugout once the season gets underway on Monday, Feb. 1 when the Lady Eagles take on Pearl River Community College of Mississippi in their home and season opener at 1:00 in Monroeville.
"Our goal is to compete every day," Powell said. "We want to take the season one pitch at a time and try to do our best. If we can do that and treat the small things like big things, we can reach our goal to be South Division Champions."
Last year's team managed to overcome an 18-36 record to get into the state tournament but that was a squad dominated by youth. This season, Powell's Lady Eagles have eight sophomores on the roster, including Ivey Kane (MIF, Theodore); Shelby Harrell (MIF, Crawfordville, Fla.); Hannah Winston (OF, Fayette); Shelbi Byler (1B, Sneads, Fla.); Patricia Murray (1B/3B, Theodore); Alli-Ann Bigale (CF/UT, Marianna, Fla.); Emily Winston (OF, Fayette); and Janessa Landas (3B, Pensacola, Fla.).
They are joined by nine freshmen in: Lizzy Galloway (P, Troy); Brooke Higdon (OF, Monroeville); Dallas Payton (OF, Pinson); Sara Ann Pope (C/OF, Mobile); Bailey Harris (1B/C Jacksonville, Ark.); Sheridan Jenkins (MIF, Camden); Rayne Ellis (UT, Pleasant Grove); Ryleigh Eddins (P, Theodore); and Mallory McCarty (P, Hoover).
Powell said the team will rely on offense early in the season.
"Probably our biggest team strength is hitting," she said. "We hit over .300 in the fall. With that being said, we played a lot of four-year schools and beat some of them. Hopefully that gave us some confidence we can build on this spring."
After taking on Pearl River, the Lady Eagles travel to Decatur, Mississippi Feb. 4 to take on East Central Community College in a 2:00 twin-bill on the road.