Meridian Star

Sports

February 22, 2014

Bailey takes over for Southeast softball as jamboree kicks off

MERIDIAN — As an assistant coach for the Southeast Lauderdale High School fast-pitch and slow-pitch softball teams since 2007, Ashlee Bailey has been a part of several Southeast jamborees in recent years.

But today will mark a first for Bailey, who will take the helm as head coach of the Lady Tigers’ fast-pitch team when her team squares off against Enterprise High School in the first game of today’s tournament.

Bailey, who takes over for Mack Fanning, said she’s excited to do something she’s dreamed of for a while now. She explained that Fanning got sick last spring, causing her to fill in, and he got sick again last fall. For now, Bailey will serve as head coach of the fast-pitch team this spring, and Fanning is expected to return this fall to coach slow-pitch.

“I love this school and always wanted to be a head coach since I started coaching here,” Bailey said. “I’m just excited and thankful they gave me the opportunity and that they have faith in me to see what I can do with these girls. This is a great group of girls and parents — there’s a good support system here, so I’m excited to see how we’re going to do.”

Coaching is in Bailey’s genes, as her father and mother were both coaches themselves, Bailey said.

“I’ve grown up around coaching my whole life,” she said. “It’s something I’ve become sort of familiar with. It’s a big step I’m taking, since I haven’t done it before, but you don’t know how you’ll do until you take that step.”

Today, Bailey will get some early impressions of her team, as her girls will be joined by Meridian, West Lauderdale, Northeast Lauderdale, Enterprise, Clarkdale and Wayne County high schools in the seven-team tournament. Seven games will be played, and each game will last four innings. The games are exhibition games and will not count toward each team’s overall record.

“We usually have six teams, but we had seven this time, just because more people wanted to come,” Bailey said.

The games will serve as a chance for each team to play against live competition instead of simply going against each other in practice.

“It’s always good to see how we’re going to hit against someone else’s pitcher,” Bailey said. “It just sort of gets them ready for the season. Whether things are good or bad, you have time to work on the things you need to get better on.”

After Southeast and Enterprise play at 9:30 a.m. today, Clarksdale and Meridian will play in Game 2. They will be followed by West Lauderdale versus Clarkdale, then Enterprise versus Wayne County, then Meridian versus Quitman. Wayne County and West Lauderdale will play in Game 6, and Quitman and Southeast will close out the tournament in Game 7.

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