Madison County’s softball opener is a week away as the Raiders head into the fall seeking their first trip to the state playoffs since 2005.
Following an “extensive” tryout period this past Friday, Madison County started practice, gearing up for its Aug. 14 opener at its own three-day Leadoff Classic.
“Tryouts lasted about 30 seconds,” joked head coach Doug Kesler, who enters his 11th season on the job.
All but one player that showed up on Friday had been with the team since summer ball. So every player was retained, filling 24 roster spots.
Though the first pitch of the 2008 season is seven days away, the team is already battling the injury bug.
Abby Atkinson has not yet been cleared to play after suffering a broken hand over the summer. Ariel Bates is battling a hamstring injury. And Heather Echols is nursing a shoulder problem that has puzzled coaches.
“We don’t know what’s going on,” Kesler said of that injury.
Madison County is also battling heat, opening practice Friday to the typical summertime temperatures.
“We give them a lot of (water) breaks,” Kesler said.
The coach told his players Friday the first practice would be demanding, but would also provide a sense of accomplishment by just getting through it.
“That’s the whole mind set of that first practice,” Kesler said.
LEAD OFF CLASSIC INFO
August 14-16 @ the Madison County Rec Dept. Madison County’s games (Pool play):
•Madison Co. vs. Stephens Co., Thursday, 4:30 p.m. (Pool A)
•Madison County vs. Lumpkin Co., Thursday, 8 p.m. (Pool A) Extra game and medal rounds:
Madison County will play three more games over the course of Friday and Saturday. The Raiders’ opponents will depend on where they finish in pool play. Standings at the end of the tournament will be based on records in the medal round. Teams will play an extra game Friday that won’t count in the tournament standings. Teams: Madison Co., Stephens Co., Lumpkin Co., Morgan Co., Elbert Co., Harlem, Franklin Co., North Oconee, Thomason, Greenbrier, Oglethorpe Co. and Winder-Barrow.