Five seniors ready to lead Lady ‘Jackets

By ROBBIE ROBERTSON,

This is the season that Union fast-pitch softball coach Jacob Casey has been waiting for since he took over the program six years ago.

Casey enters the season with five seniors, many of whom have started since the seventh and eighth grade. And of those five seniors, four have already signed to play junior college softball.

Casey realizes his team will go as far as those seniors.

“We have high expectations,” Casey said “We will be as good as those seniors want us to be... It’s their season, the sky is the limit for us. We have all the talent and potential in the world. They have been playing together for a long time. We have the players and we have the talent, it’s just how much they want it this year.”

Returning for Union is East Central signee Parker Breland who will start in the outfield. On the hill is Hinds Community College signee Anna Rigdon while East Mississippi signee Mackenzie Dolan will catch. They are joined by East Mississippi signee Lilly Burton who will start at third. Casey’s other senior, Macy Lott, will start at first.

“We are going to have to be senior led, but with that being said, we are going to have to have some of these younger girls step up and take a full-time role” Casey said. “If we are going to be successful, we will have to have everybody contributing. We can’t just depend on just these seniors to carry us.”

Around the infield, Burton will be at third while sophomore Dallas Brown will be at short and freshman Anna Grace Blount will start at second with Lott at first. While Rigdon pitches, Dolan will catch. In the outfield, sophomore Kayleigh Vance, Ansley Rigby and Dashayla Jackson will likely join Parker Breland.

On the mound, Rigdon brings back a ton of experience and will be backed up by Brittany Cleveland, who pitched in 10 varsity games last year.

Others who will see playing time are Jordan Turner, C.C. Carter and Abby Jenkins.

“We have always relied on pitching and defense and playing the small ball,” Casey said. “We are going to try and put pressure on the defense and force them to make mistakes. At this level, games are lost more than they are won.”

Union competes in division play with Lake, Philadelphia, Newton and Scott Central. Lake made the Class 2A South State playoffs last year while Philadelphia is just two years removed from a Class 3A State championship.

“Three teams will make the playoffs and once you get in the playoffs, anything can happen,” Casey said.  “I really think it’s up for grabs.”