Prairie View Softball Preview
School hasn't quite started yet, but summer is over for the Prairie View Lady Spartans as the 2013 MAIS softball season gets under way Friday. Prairie View is matched against Porter's Chapel (Miss.) at 4:20 in the first round of the Riverfield Tournament, which runs through Saturday.
Prairie View actually began fall practice without a coach. Amy Luzader-Diaz accepted the position three weeks ago.
Nevertheless, Luzader-Diaz says the Lady Spartans have had a productive preseason.
“They have gotten so much better,” Luzader-Diaz said. “I know it's going to be a different ballgame when we actually get into a ballgame, but I think they're ready.”
Prairie View returns both pitchers, plus its starting catcher, second baseman and two outfielders from last year's 21-8 outfit.
Jeri Harper (10-4, 1 save, 2.17 ERA) and Bailey Ryder (11-4, 1.89 ERA) both earned All-District honors after helping the Lady Spartans win the District 3-2A championship last season.
In 87 innings of work, Harper struck out 72, while walking 25 and allowing 83 hits.
Ryder fanned 26, walked only 11 and gave up 70 hits in 70 innings pitched.
Both should only get better this season as Harper enters her junior season, while Ryder is a sophomore.
Harper led the Lady Spartans offensively last season with 33 hits, a .402 batting average, a .456 on base mark and a .488 slugging percentage, while finishing tied for tops on the team with 17 RBI.
Ryder hit at a .265 clip, to go along with a .359 on base percentage and 15 ribbies.
Erika Guerrero (.244, 9 RBI, 21 runs scored) earned All-District honors behind the plate.
Harper and Ryder will rotate between the circle and shortstop, while Kristin Bozeman (.225, 1 home run, 11 RBI) returns at second base.
The corner infielders are both new as Alexus DeBlieux and Hailey Yarborough take over at first and third base, respectively. Yarborough returns to Prairie View after a year at Sterlington.
Center fielder Katie Bryan, who hit .250 with six RBI as a part-time starter in 2012, is the lone holdover in the opening day outfield. Tessa Boykin will start today's game in left field, with Maria Roberts in right. Brianna Jacobs (.231, 13 RBI), an honorable mention All-District honoree in 2012, will rejoin the team upon returning from family vacation.
Other candidates for action include utility players Morgan Grayson and Sheridan May and outfielders Victoria Domino and Madison Fisher.
Two junior varsity players, Hope Lindeman and Jayla Stewart, have been called up to the varsity for the weekend.
Prairie View will play its first home game on Monday against Central Hinds. Starting time for the JV/varsity double header is 4 p.m.
JERI HARPER will join Team Louisiana for the Little League Regional Tournament in Vidalia this weekend. Teams from East Texas, West Texas, Colorado and New Mexico, along with the Vidalia host team, join Team Louisiana in the tournament field.
“Most of us are from northeast Louisiana, but we have some people from down south, too,” Harper said.
Among the other area players on the Team Louisiana roster is Sterlington center fielder Avery Elkins. Vance “Peabody” Elkins, a PVA alum, is the coach.
The Regional champion advances to the Little League World Series.