Seahawks look to navigate their way to Walnut CreekPublished 7:45pm Tuesday, March 5, 2013
CHOCOWINITY — Armed with the best pitcher in the area, a balanced lineup and a veteran infield, the Southside softball team enters the 2013 season with a state-or-bust mindset. The only thing standing in its way to Walnut Creek is a conference loaded with teams that all feel the same way … and are just as capable.
For the past few years the Four Rivers Conference has been a jungle mixed with courageous Cougars, precocious Panthers and beastly Bruins who are being watched over by Knights. However, the Seahawks have proved to be the kings of that jungle as they have won the conference four out of the past five seasons.
The next task is to find a way out of it.
Last year Southside stormed through the regular season with a 12-2 conference record but was bounced out of the playoffs by a powerful Riverside squad in the second round. The Knights would go on to knockout another state-worthy opponent in South Creek, only to get tripped by a surprise Camden team in the sectional round.
Such is life in the Four Rivers.
Southside is hoping that this year is different. Three-time WDN Pitcher of the Year Savannah Mumford is in her senior season, as is WDN all-area selections shortstop Macy Paramore, third baseman Marlin Edwards and second baseman Sondra Sparks.
Added to that mix is the big bat and glove of senior first baseman Tia Hardy, the quality arm of junior catcher Valarie Hodges and a speedy, youthful outfield led by junior center fielder Morgan Harding.
With so much experienced talent and you can’t help but wonder if Southside is the most complete team in the conference.
“We have a lot of experience and leadership in a lot of areas,” said 2011 WDN Coach of the Year John Lohman. “Different kids are going to step up at different times. They know what to do. They’re not fazed by tough situations.”
The name of the game in softball is pitching and with Mumford on the mound the Seahawks feels like the odds are their favor every time the umpire yells, “Play ball!” And why shouldn’t they. Last year Mumford went 18-5 with a 1.35 ERA and rung up a career-high 234 batters, all while working on her curveball.
“Savannah gives us a chance to win every game we play,” Lohman said. “We have a legitimate shot of beating just about any team we play when she’s on the mound; 1-A, 2-A 3-A whatever. If we can give her two or three runs we have really good chance of winning that game.”
And with that, lies the key to the Seahawks’ season: run support. With an infield that is capable of playing airtight defense, Southside’s going to be extremely tough to score on but they must be just as consistent at the plate.
“That’s the key for us,” Lohman said. “If we score five runs I’m 98 percent sure we’re going to win that game.”