Softball Hosts Season-Opening Tournament
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
SHREVEPORT-It may only be the early part of February, but the Centenary softball team kicks off its season, hosting a six-team tournament on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Centenary Softball Complex.

The Ladies and 8th year-head coach Mark Montgomery will welcome Houston Baptist, Wichita State, Southern, Memphis, and Nicholls to Shreveport this weekend for a scheduled 12-game tournament over three days.

Centenary will open its season with HBU on Friday afternoon at 4:00 pm. It will then meet Wichita State at 3:30 pm and Southern at 5:30 pm on Saturday afternoon, before closing out the weekend with a 1:30 pm matchup against in-state rival, Nicholls.

"I feel as though the tournament field is very balanced.  I expect many good games over the weekend," said Montgomery.

The Ladies return eight players from last season's team, including all-league seniors C Haley Bassett (.271) and 3B Allison Shepperd (.245), along with UTL Beth Krysiak (.107). Also returning for Centenary are juniors 2B Caitlin Cavarra (.277 BA), RHP Lauren Highsmith (9.19 ERA) and OF Bonnie Matak (.248), as well as sophomores OF Katie Matthews (.234) and 1B/DP Kalyn Harris (.186).

"We are going to need to hit the ball well this year.  I expect our returners, who make up the bulk of our offense, to set that standard and lead us," said Montgomery.

Centenary will showcase five newcomers in RHP Courtney Avery, RHP Sara Dornelas, C/UTL Rachel Conard, RHP/UTL Regina Salvatore, and IF Callie Herrington, as well as OF Bailey Boggs and C /OF Kelsey Regan. Also new to the coaching staff is recently assigned associate head coach Mark Lambert and volunteer assistant Joanna Armour.

"The new staff is working well together and all of the kids are working hard.  We certainly hope that leads to positive outcomes on the field.  We have some very talented newcomers and I expect all of them to contribute significantly to the team's effort this year," said Montgomery.

The Ladies finished with a 32-23 overall record and a fourth place finish in The Summit League tournament after a 13-9 mark among league opponents last season and met Nicholls twice, but dropped both contest to the Colonels. Centenary returns just one pitcher in Highsmith and will look for her and the three new additions: Avery, Dornelas and Salvatore to contribute on a consistent basis.

"We will be more reliant on our entire pitching staff than ever before.  They are all going to be called upon at different times to limit damage and get us out of some tough spots.  I think all four are up to the challenge and each of them knows their role and how important it is," said Montgomery.

Centenary will meet HBU for the ninth time in history as each team has four wins in the series. The Ladies will play Wichita State for the first time in history. They do, however, own a perfect 5-0 record over Southern, but Nicholls holds a 20-4-1 over the Ladies since they first met.

"I think it is going to be an exciting year.  I think the thing that will be evident to everyone is how hard these kids work on doing the little things right.  If that does come through like I expect it should translate into many exciting games in which we find a way to win," said Montgomery.

Following this weekend's tournament, Centenary will travel to play the University of Texas on Tuesday at 6:30 pm in Austin, Texas.