(Orange, Texas)

February 11, 2013

Lady Bears prep for another banner season

Van Wade
The Orange Leader

LITTLE CYPRESS — Just barely missing the Class 4A State Softball Tournament last season, the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Lady Bears should once again make plenty of noise during their 2013 campaign.

Coach Dena Adkins welcomes back a ton of talent off last year’s 34-10 squad, one that advanced all the way to the 4A Region III Finals before dropping a heartbreaking three-game series to eventual state runnerup Montgomery.

“Last year was awesome and we would love to have another run like we did last year,” said Adkins. “We lost a few good kids to graduation but we still have an excellent foundation. We’re looking forward to another great season.”

The Lady Bears welcome back their top two pitchers in senior Raven Cole and junior Hope Russell.

Cole, who was the District 20-4A Co-Most Valuable Player last year for not only her pitching prowess but her bat as well, is the “bulldog” on the mound with her rising fastball and tough mentality. Russell, who was Second Team All-District, can always come in and take down opposing batters with her excellent location.

“Raven wants to go out in style,” said Adkins. “I’ve never seen her throw harder than she is throwing right now. She’s a young lady on a mission for sure. Hope, she’s such a compliment to Raven. They’re quite the combo.”

The Lady Bears also return 20-4A’s Co-Offensive Player of the Year in the form of third baseman Kassie James, who not only has a rifle arm but also a knack for blasting homers and doubles.

All-District outfielder Taylor Fraccastoro will make the shift to be the full-time catcher, replacing the graduated All-District catcher in Baylie Comeaux. Fraccastoro did spend some quality time at catcher a season ago.

Senior Kayleigh Roy, who was All-District as a utility player, will be back in the infield, moving from her second base spot back to shortstop where she played as a sophomore.

“We’ve got some good hitting and fielding back,” said Adkins. “These girls know how the game is played and they execute well. We’re shifting a few kids around but they’re know what they’re doing.”

All-District outfielder Morgan Babineaux returns as well and is looking for a couple teammates to step up and protect the walls.

Likely outfielders include Senior Shelby LeBouef and Mikala Stegall. There will be plenty of room in the lineup at times for Chelsea McLain and Blythe Ferguson.

“We’ve had some of our younger kids step up and perform well in our scrimmages,” said Adkins. “We still have Kassie and Kayleigh coming in from basketball, which has allowed some of our younger ones to shine early.”

Adkins and Co. know that there will be plenty of teams looking to take them down. District 20-4A is one of the strongest district in the state as the Lady Bears will once again go against the likes of Nederland, Port Neches-Groves, Vidor, and Livingston.

“No doubt, our district is very talented and it always gets you prepared for the playoffs,” said Adkins. “I think our entire region in Texas is unreal. We don’t want to jinx ourselves but this team has another shot at going a long way as long as they maintain that focus and intensity. I really like our chances.”

The Lady Bears will kickoff their season Thursday through Saturday when they play host to the Southeast Texas Classic at the College Street Complex in Beaumont.

Teams participating include the host Lady Bears, Orangefield, Bridge City, Vidor, Crosby, Beaumont Kelly, Lumberton, and West Orange-Stark.

Pool play begins Thursday. Games on Field A Thursday includes LC- M vs. Kelly (11 a.m.), Orangefield vs. Lumberton (1 p.m.), Kelly vs. Lumberton (3 p.m.), and LC-M vs. Orangefield (5 p.m.). Games on Field C Thursday will include WO-S vs. Vidor (11 a.m.), Crosby vs. Bridge City (1 p.m.), WO-S vs. Bridge City (3 p.m.), and Crosby vs. Vidor (5 p.m.). There will also be a skills competition on Field A at 7 p.m.

Pool games Friday on Field A includes Vidor vs. Bridge City (1 p.m.), WO-S vs. Crosby (3 p.m.), WO-S vs. Lumberton (5 p.m.), and LC-M vs. Crosby (7 p.m.). Field C games Thursday will pit LC-M vs. Lumberton (1 p.m.), Orangefield vs. Kelly (3 p.m.), Bridge City vs. Kelly (5 p.m.), and Vidor vs. Orangefield (7 p.m.).


Feb. 14-16: at Southeast Texas Classic (Bmt.)

Feb. 19: West Brook

Feb. 21-23: at Waco Midway Tournament

Feb. 26: at Livingston*

Feb. 28-Mar. 2: at College Station Tournament

Mar. 5: PN-G*

Mar. 8: Nederland*

Mar. 12: at Ozen*

Mar. 15: Lumberton*

Mar. 19: at Central*

Mar. 22: Vidor*

Mar. 26: Livingston*

Mar. 28: at PN-G*

Apr. 5: at Nederland*

Apr. 6: Ozen*

Apr. 9: at Lumberton*

Apr. 12: Central*

Apr. 16: at Vidor*