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SHS begins '07 softball season
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    The Statesboro Lady Blue Devil softball team opens their 2007 campaign today at Mill Creek, welcoming Swainsboro for a 5 p.m. first pitch.
    With 18 girls on this year’s squad, 10 of which are sophomores, youth will be an issue for SHS.
    “As long as they’re willing to learn and work hard, that’s all we can ask,” said Statesboro coach Karry Parker, now in her fourth year.
    The Devils played Southeast Bulloch to a draw in a scrimmage Thursday at Mill Creek before lightning shortened the contest. The game gave Parker and her staff a chance to see what kind of product they’ll be working with starting today.
    “We’re definitely going to have to cut down on some of the errors,” she said. “Most of the girls are still learning the flow and philosophy of the game. I think as long as they keep that fight and competitive spirit we really won’t have any complaints.”
    Statesboro has just three seniors taking the field this year, one of which is starting pitcher Brittany Raines. Raines will be the ace of the staff and Parker said Raines’ ability to locate and control her pitches will be key to the Devils’ success.
    Raines will primarily throw to junior Meghan Cassedy, who will also see time on the mound when Raines fatigues. Senior infielder Kittrella Mikell and sophomore shortstop/third baseman Whitney Lucas also figure to play prominent roles.
    After today’s game with Class AA Swainsboro, SHS faces a tough Wayne County team on Wednesday. Parker said she will have a good idea of where her team stands after this first week. Near the end of August, Statesboro will welcome 15 other teams from around the state for the Battle in the Boro tournament on Aug. 24.
    In sub-region play, the usual suspects of Greenbrier, Lakeside and Evans should be the teams to beat. Parker knows her Lady Devils can play with the best-of-the-best — it’s holding on to those wins which have hampered her teams in the past.
    “We have to get over the hump of winning those close games,” said Parker.

    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.