Local rivals to square off in preseason softball game

HOGANSVILLE – They’re getting a head start on the season.

While the regular-season opener for the Troup Lady Tigers and Callaway Lady Cavaliers is still two weeks away, those teams will be on the field today for a preseason softball game.

Callaway will be the host team for today’s game that begins at 6 p.m.

“It’ll be good to get some girls in a situation where they can have some live game experience,” Callaway head coach Ashley Summerlin said. “We haven’t been able to do that yet. Just to be able to do that will be good for them. Our pitchers will be able to go against live hitters. And we’ll have our hitters be able to see some live pitching. They just get game experience.”

Official preseason practice begins on Monday, although Callaway and Troup have been holding voluntary workouts throughout the summer.

Summerlin said participation has been outstanding this summer.

“They’ve been here,” Summerlin said. “We’ve gone three days a week, and they’ve done a great job of being here. I think we averaged 15 to 20 a day. I think we had 23 this morning. And we only have 26 in the program. To have all of those girls here, it’s good for them. We’re just excited about it.”

Summerlin said all but one player will be on the field for today’s game, and that he’ll use three pitchers.

“I think they’re ready to go,” Summerlin said.

Troup, meanwhile, is preparing for its first season under the direction of head coach Mason Brackett, who has replaced Blair Shimandle, who stepped down following the 2015 season.

While Brackett is new to the head-coaching position, he was an assistant coach on the team the past two seasons, so he knows the players.

He worked with them as head coach during spring practice, and during summer workouts.

“You get to know the girls,” Brackett said earlier this year. “You get to know their personalities, how you can interact with each one. You have to handle them all a different way. Some respond better to certain types of motivation.”

Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports

By Kevin Eckleberry

keckleberry@civitasmedia.com