Lady Cardinals begin preparing for new season

By Doug Gorman

Things are starting to get a little bit busy at Jonesboro High School.

With the Jonesboro marching band going through the paces and the school's football team practicing off in the distance, the softball team also returned to work Monday night.

In what amounted to a one-day tryout, 19 hopefuls went through catching, throwing, batting and running drills under the guidance of head coach Jeanine Conkle.

"I would like to keep 14 players, but we will see what happens," Conkle said.

The Jonesboro coach is trying to replace five starters, all who graduated from last year's team.

Because of a lack of numbers, there won't be a junior varsity team at Jonesboro this season.

One player noticeably missing from the first practice at Jonesboro was sophomore pitcher Heather Lowry.

Lowry won't have to worry about losing her spot.

The hard-throwing pitcher is participating in a national softball tournament with the Extreme, her summer softball team.

"I normally wouldn't let a player miss practice, but she's playing and that's what's important," Conkle said. "I'm sure she's playing against some really good competition".

Three other starters return to the Jonesboro lineup this year including outfielder Brittany Carnes, catcher Rachel Nutter, and third baseman Kellsie Currin.

Others returners who played but did not start including outfielders Heather McCarty and Alarie Smith.

Donisha Harrison, who was on the roster but didn't see action in any games is expected to compete for time as an infielder.

"Our goal is pretty simple this year," she said. "We want to win as many games as possible, and play well come tournament time and make it back to the state tournament."

A year ago, the Lady Cardinals made it to the state tournament for the first time in school history.

Conkle expects the Area 2-AAAAA tournament to be wide open again this season with Eagle's Landing, Henry County and Stockbridge the teams to beat from the Southern Crescent.

The Jonesboro coach was also impressed with the way the Macon and Warner Robins schools performed last season.