Last updated: February 22. 2014 7:00PM - 1666 Views

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*denotes 2013 All-County selection


LUMBERTON PIRATES


Coach: Mackie Register


2013 Record: 14-13, 6-4


Opener: Wednesday at Terry Sanford


Returning starters: 8


Top players: Joy Church (Sr., 1B); CeCe Campbell* (Sr., OF/P); Danielle Smith* (Sr., P/Util.)


Outlook: After getting the first playoff win of the fastpitch era last season, the young Pirates are hoping to continue the program’s growth. The team returns eight starters from last season, the primary loss being pitcher Meagan Skipper. They’ll replace her in the circle with a rotation that includes St. Pauls transfer and three-time All-County selection Danielle Smith. “Last year is just the foundation of what we are trying to achieve,” Register said. “We’ve got everyone coming back but we’ve still got to put in the work. If we put in the work we’ve got potential.”


SOUTH ROBESON MUSTANGS


Coach: Donnie Carter


2013 Record: 12-9, 8-2.


Opener: Wednesday at Hoke


Returning starters: 3


Top players: Taylor Jacobs (Sr., P*); Cheyanne Chavis (Sr., OF/DP); Savannah Hunt* (Sr., SS/CF)


Outlook: After losing a number of seniors, the Mustangs will need underclassmen to step up. “We’re going to be 10th grade heavy,” Carter said. “They got some playing time last year but it was limited. If they come along offensively, we’ll be competitive.” Despite the youth, the team retains a three-senior core that includes senior pitcher and three-time All-County selection Taylor Jacobs, who should limit opposing offenses.


PURNELL SWETT RAMS


Coach: William Deese


2013 Record: 5-18, 2-8


Opener: Wednesday vs. Whiteville


Returning starters: 8


Top players: Carissa Holden (Jr., P); Sequoia Locklear, So., P; Bristin Locklear*, Jr., Util.; Kyla Chavis, Sr., 3B.


Outlook: As a young team last year, Purnell Swett did plenty of things that left Deese optimistic. The glaring problem was on the defensive side, where errors led to a plethora of unearned runs. “I think our lack of experience kind of hurt us as far as defense but we’re starting to get the experience and I think that’s going to propel us to do more,” Deese said. A year older and wiser, the returning Rams lost only one senior and are looking to get back in the playoff hunt.


FAIRMONT GOLDEN TORNADOES


Coach: Cindy Thorndyke


2013 Record: 8-10, 6-4.


Opener: Thursday at Dillon Christian


Returning starters: 9


Top players: Katelon Floyd* (Jr., P); Tiffany Hicks* (So., SS); Mariah Lovin, Fairmont, (Jr., IF), Christa Thorndyke (Sr., C)


Outlook: Unlike other teams within the Three Rivers Conference, the Golden Tornadoes aren’t in a position where they are starting completely from scratch. Quite the opposite, actually. Fairmont returns all nine starters, including All-County pitcher Katelon Floyd, who averaged nearly a strikeout per inning last year and was the team’s leader in RBIs. On top of that, the team got two experienced transfers and will develop one of the top pitchers from last year’s middle school season.


ST. PAULS BULLDOGS


Coach: Phillip Tyler


2013 Record: 8-13, 4-6


Opener: Thursday vs. West Bladen.


Returning starters: 3


Top players: Courtney Yanosik, Sr., OF/Util; Shania McMillian, Sr., OF; Keona Ficklea, Jr., IF.


Outlook: In their first year under Tyler, the Bulldogs will be trying to get the most out of a team made primarily of freshmen and sophomores. “We’re going to be young and they’re probably going to struggle some,” Tyler said. The lack of experience will be spread around the field, including in the pitchers circle, where three underclassmen are vying for the top pitching spot left behind by Danielle Smith, who transferred to Lumberton.


RED SPRINGS RED DEVILS


Coach: Robert Dove


Opener: Wednesday vs. E. E. Smith


Returning starters: 4


Top players: Hailey Locklear*, Sr., OF; Angelica Locklear, So., C.


Outlook: In his first year leading the Red Devils, Dove sees plenty of potential for the future, the unknown is how long it will take to reach it. The Red Devils will be young and expect to have four freshmen in the starting lineup. The team will also be short-handed until basketball season is over. “This may be a year of growth and development but I believe we can have a good program,” Dove said.

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