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Lady Doggs hit summer rough patch

POSTED: June 7, 2014 12:00 p.m.
Adam Wynn/Barrow County News

Lady Dogg Carlee Thurmond takes part in a varsity softball game against Heritage early in the 2013 season. Thurmond is the captain for 2014 and will be relied upon heavily to provide leadership for the young team.

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The Lady Doggs had a rough go Thursday night in one of their earliest summer league events.

Winder-Barrow’s varsity softball team played two games at Walnut Grove Thursday night and fell in both.

“We didn’t play very good,” Winder-Barrow head varsity softball coach Monty McClure commented. 

The Lady Doggs dropped their game against the hosts 6-3 before losing to Athens Christian 3-2. 

“I just don’t want our girls showing up to summer ball and playing games and going home. We’re there to compete, and if we don’t compete, then we might as well not play in the games. We want to win the games,” McClure said. “I think we just had a bad night. We’d played really well up until last night, so I expect us to rebound on Monday.”

Winder-Barrow enters this offseason after the most successful season in their history. The 2013 Lady Doggs made it all the way to Columbus despite entering the region tournament in fifth and reaching the state tournament as the fourth seed. 

Despite their position as the perpetual underdog, Winder-Barrow managed to surprise a lot of people and snag a spot in the elite eight tournament down in Columbus.

While last year’s success can sometimes be a reason for teams to slack off in the new year, McClure hopes for quite the opposite from his ladies.

“It better be motivation. Our goal is to get back there,” McClure unabashedly stated.

Winder will need to replace some crucial moving parts from that 2013 team, though, as six seniors vacated the roster upon the season’s end. With so many slots to fill and so many changes all over the field, McClure knows what his goal and his team’s goal needs to be in the summer: focus.

“We’re starting seven freshmen or sophomores, and we need to realize that every game matters and that it’s not travel ball and we’re just going from game to game and we get to keep playing no matter what,” McClure elaborated. “Every game matters, and we can’t play down to our competition. 

“Expectations are high and we just feel like focus and competing to win every game right now is the most important thing.”

One of the most difficult tasks facing McClure may be bringing the team together as one body now that so much of the previous leadership is gone with the likes of Erin Harbin and the other five seniors.

“I want to see our girls playing well together, pulling for each other and genuinely caring about each other. If we can have some of that established, as well as some positions going into August 1, that would be great,” McClure admitted.

With the six seniors gone, Lady Dogg Carlee Thurmond has stepped into a more prominent leadership role on the team to match her already intimidating performance on the field, although she is hardly alone.

“With such a young team, we’re going to rely on our three or four upperclassmen,” McClure elaborated. “We’re trying to establish the roles, and so far Carlee, who’s our captain for next year, has done a good job. 

“When you lose that much leadership, you need to find everyone’s role,” McClure added. “When we come together, we’re playing as a unit, and I’ll take good team unity over talent any day. I don’t think you can win without it.”

Winder-Barrow will be back at Walnut Grove Monday night for a couple more games in the summer league as they prepare for competition in the fall, and McClure is hoping for a different result from Thursday’s games.

“I expect us to be laser-focused and ready to roll come Monday.”

 

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