Preseason Primer: Ruffin speaks on approaching season opener
Published 9:50 pm Thursday, March 3, 2016
CHOCOWINITY — Monday marks the start of the season for Southside softball. The Lady Seahawks are coming off a 6-10 season that saw them make a brief playoff appearance, which ended with a first-round elimination at the hands of No. 5 Whiteville.
Last year’s team featured a strong contingent of freshmen and sophomores. Southside lost McKayla Aldridge, Angelica Tisdale and Tia Hardy from that group. While this year’s team is still relatively young, the Lady Seahawks enter the season with postseason experience under their belt.
Here’s what coach Milton Ruffin had to say about the season ahead of Monday’s opener.
On following up last year’s playoff appearance:
“Well, we made it to the state playoffs last year before getting knocked out in the first round. I just have senior Alexis Preece and about five more that played in the state playoffs (returning). They’re pretty excited and they’ve been out there working hard trying to get to the next level.”
On the youth of this year’s Lady Seahawks team:
“We’re very young. I have one returning senior and a couple juniors then about five sophomores. I’ve actually got a freshman that’s a pitcher. She’s going to be my ace this year. Also, my catcher is a freshman.
“They played at the middle school. They’re pretty good ball players. They know the game. They’ve got that winning attitude. They come to practice and they fall right in and they work hard.”
On the team’s offense:
“I have Symone Ruffin. She’s my shortstop. Hannah Paramore, Danielle Ruffin are more of my sophomores. I expect them to put the bat on the ball. They’re good base runners. I think they’ll do fine.”
On the team’s leadership:
“Like I said, some of them do have state playoff experience. I expect them to lead by example. That way, the young players can follow them and they can show them what it takes to win.”
On building on last year’s accomplishments:
“Our expectations are not just making the state playoffs. We want to try and move into the second or third round of the playoffs. Conference play is always tough. We have Northside and East Carteret. Those are some tough teams. I just want to make sure we can compete with those teams and be on the same level.
“They probably have seniors and juniors that have already been playing. I think my freshman and sophomores and one senior should be able to compete with them.”
On what he expects come Monday’s game against Columbia:
“Practice has been good. Our infield has been good and so has the outfield. I’m looking for the girls to play a solid game on Monday.”