The Lady Colts won seven consecutive district championships, seven consecutive North State Championships and, more importantly, six state championships with an impressive record of 277-55-1 from 2006-12. Last year marked the only time the Lady Colts did not win the state championship in Class A as the team went 31-12.
When the 2013 season begins Saturday with the Lady Colts’ annual softball tournament at Bear Pen Park, the team will start its first season in AA since 2005. Bayou will be competing in District 1AA and the teams the Lady Colts will be competing against are familiar foes. The teams in the district with Bayou are Indianola Academy, Kirk Academy, Lee Academy from Clarksdale, North Delta and Winona Christian School. Even when Bayou was Class A, the team had always scheduled other AA and AAA schools in non-district games.
Bayou head coach Lauren LaSuzzo, who has been either a head coach or an assistant on four of the six state title teams, said her team is prepared to play in the higher classification.
“I think that our conference is definitely going to be stronger than it has been in the past,” LaSuzzo said. “However, I don’t think it’s anything that we haven’t faced before. I think it’s exciting to be in a conference that’s competitive, but I don’t think it will be anything that we can’t step up to.”
LaSuzzo added that the team will be as competitive as ever in AA.
“Overall, we always compete to win,” LaSuzzo said. “We always want to be the last team standing. This year, the girls feel like we have a new start with a new district, a new conference and no pressure. We’re just playing the game and finding a new path in district AA.”
The Lady Colts currently have four pitchers that can pitch some quality innings this year. Sophomores Ashley Vickers, Camryn Otts and Shelby Newsom and freshman Chrissy Tubbs will be counted on to hold opponents at bay in the circle.
“All four pitchers are different,” LaSuzzo said. “I look forward to them stepping up. They all throw different pitches and all have different speeds. I don’t think any of them are going to blow the ball by you. They just have to stay focused and think about every pitch they’re going to throw and what they need to do to make the pitch work. I think our defense is strong behind them. They know if they get a ground ball or fly ball, the defense will make a play.”
Bayou will have a solid infield that will be anchored by sophomore catcher Carley Peden, sophomore first baseman Brantley Hutchinson, freshman second baseman Kailyn Lofton, junior shortstop Taylor Ann Bailey and Tubbs and Newsom platooning at third base.
The outfield will be just as solid with senior Taylor Newton and Vickers playing center field, sophomore Ana Parker Davis playing leftfield and Otts playing in right field.
When the Lady Colts open their season on Saturday, they will find out what they’re made of quick as Manchester Academy, Pillow Academy, Canton Academy, Madison Ridgeland Academy, Carroll Academy, Marshall Academy, North Delta, Oak Forest Academy and Washington School will be competing in the event.
“The competition is going to be good,” LaSuzzo said. “I think it’s going to be a great weekend. I look forward to it.”
Bayou’s first game of the tournament will be at 8:30 a.m. against Pillow Academy. The championship game of the tournament will be at 6 p.m.