By Doug Gorman
With only three returning lettermen coming back for the 2004 season, it might be appropriate to call it a rebuilding year for the Jonesboro Lady Cardinals' softball team.
Still, head coach Jeanine Conkle should be comfortable with the trio of talented players returning to the line up.
Two of the returning players make up the team's pitching and catching combination with junior Heather Lowry taking the mound and senior Rachel Nutter returning behind the plate. Both players are all-state candidates after banner seasons a year ago.
Junior Kellsie Currin takes her fielding skills back to third base as the third returning starter from last year.
"Hopefully, we'll do well during the regular season and region playoffs and make it to the state tournament again," said Conkle.
In addition to the returning starters, junior Donisha Harrison is expected to see time at second base. Center fielder Kala Smith is also expected to see time playing time.
Other members of the Lady Cardinals varsity include seniors Alarie Smith and Nichole Soto.
Other juniors on the Lady Cardinals' roster are Heather McCarty, and Katie Vickers.
Sophomores on the team include, Megan Baity, Shawan Gwinn and Quatia Martin. Two freshmen, Debanise Hill and Arianna Jones are also on the team.
The Lady Cardinals have moved into Region 5-AAAA and should be one of the favorites to win their new region.
Among the teams on the region slate are Southwest DeKalb, Stone Mountain, Washington, North Atlanta, North Clayton, South Atlanta, Forest Park, Mt. Zion, Cedar Grove, Columbia and Mays.
The Lady Cardinals open the season with a game against Henry County at home on August 26. The non-region slate is a match up of two state sectional teams from a year go.
From Sept 3-6, the team travels to the Georgia coast to participate in an early-season tournament.
From Sept. 24-25 the Lady Cardinals join the rest of the teams in the county at the Clayton County tourney.
The region tourney is set for Oct. 11-13 at Lovejoy Park.