Southern Teams Face Difficult Road To Respectability

March 22, 1992|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff writer

Their teams went a combined 7-27 last year.

And this year, the road isn't likely to get any easier.

But softball coach Marti Woodfield and baseball mentor Chuck Crandell -- both entering their second seasons with the Southern Bulldogs-- say their squads won't concede any of this year's games.

"Our situation is pretty good," said Crandell, whose entire team is back after a 4-12 campaign. "I think we're going to be very competitive andaggressive enough to be in every ballgame.

"It's helpful that I coached the junior varsity before last year. This is my third year with some of the juniors, so already, we're starting out a lot farther ahead of last year. We've got some good capabilities."

Unlike Crandell, Woodfield saw her players for the first time a year ago and had to use that season as a warm-up.

"I came in cold last year, but now I know a little bit more about what to expect," said Woodfield, whose squad returns seven starters.

"It's helpful that we have some players coming back. Their skills don't have to be toned up as much. Last year, we split games with Annapolis and beat Wilde Lake and Atholton of Howard County. But now, we have to play all of the county teams, which will be a lot tougher."

So will the Bulldogs, whose 8-7 loss to Annapolis over 10 innings ended a 90-game losing streak for the Panthers.

Southern's strengths are in the infield, beginning with the squad's two seniors, Jennifer Bush (pitcher) and Lena Nuckols (shortstop).

The rest of the junior-laden infield includes catcher Christy Padgett, Amy Manifold and Rachel Lee.

Sophomore Tonia Nuckols may see action at first base, and junior Karen Jameson, the finalreturning starter, will play an outfield position.

"Jennifer wentto one of Jack Crandell's pitching clinics this past winter, and we're working on having someone else there to help her, probably Manifold," said Woodfield, whose Bulldogs were 3-15 last year.

"There aresome question marks in the outfield. I know that they can catch and throw well, but I'm not sure how they're going to do (in game situations). The (inclement weather) hasn't helped."

Baseball coach ChuckCrandell can say the same thing about his six-man pitching rotation,which includes seniors Eric Hammet and Chris Thomas, juniors Tamon Wallace, Troy O'Connor and Chris Bush, and sophomore Tom Estep.

Butdespite the weather, Crandell has no complaints.

"I like the attitude and the mind-set of this group," said Crandell, who is assisted by Tim Herrin. "Last year I only had a total of 20 guys out for the teams -- junior varsity and varsity."

This year, the Bulldogs' varsity baseball team has 18 members.

"How many games we win depends on how far these guys want to go," said Crandell. "But right now, I don't see any quit in them."

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