MT softball battles in season, with new coach

Friday, April 11, 2003

With a new coach and good numbers, the Marked Tree senior girls softball team are participating this season in a rarity in Arkansas high school sports: slow-pitch softball.

The Indians are one of only 21 teams in the state that participate in the traditional form of softball. However, it is expected in the next year, all high schools in the state of Arkansas will be required to participate in fast-pitch softball. As for this season, Marked Tree has 14 players participating, including two seniors and six juniors. However, Marked Tree has its share of underclassmen, with one sophomore and five freshmen on the team.

The Indians are led by first-year coach Betty Burge. Coach Burge told the Tribune recently that so far her team is improving, both on and off the field. Burge said, "I like this team real well. They are good kids and have a great attitude. They are also good to be around and are coachable." As for pitching, the staff is led by Natalie Copier and Heather Morgan. Copier pitched well against Cross County in the opener, giving up only two walks in a 5-2 loss. Hitting wise, Coach Burge told the Tri-City Tribune that in the early going, it appears that her team is hitting better in practice than in games. However, Coach Burge said her team is getting better.

This season, Marked Tree plays in eight contests, with all games being either 10 innings or doubleheaders. The Indians, 0-2 as of this writing have early contests against several tough teams. After early contests against Cross County and Hughes, Marked Tree hits the road for four of the next six games. On April 14 and 22, Marked Tree has a home and home series versus Cross County. On April 24, Marked Tree travels to McCrory for a key district game. On April 28 and 29, Marked Tree ends its season with two straight road games, against Hughes and Cross County respectively.

The state tournament for slow-pitch softball is scheduled for May 3 in Sherwood.

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