The Meridian Star
When West Lauderdale softball coach Cary Luke calls the name Mal at practice, chaos pursues.
The Knights have five different Mals on the varsity team, all in different grades. There is senior Mallory Turner, sophomore Mallory Vance, freshman Mallory Wooldridge, eighth grader Mallory Thompson and rounding out the group is Mallorye Dozier who made the team as a seventh grader.
“Right now when they are all out there and you yell, Mallory come in a few steps, everyone is moving,” Luke said. “You have to really be specific when you start hollering at them.”
It used to be a simple process for Luke. After Vance joined the team as the second Mal, the head coach took to calling her little Mal and referred to Turner as big Mal.
“It was an easy nickname, because she was the tiniest kid I have ever had on a softball team,” Luke said of Vance. “She actually wore size youth large clothing. We had to order it special.”
When Wooldridge joined the fold a year later, the task of naming the girls got even tougher, as Luke changed the nicknames to Mal 1, Mal 2, and Mal 3.
Now with five Mals, Luke has given up on nicknames, choosing instead to call the girls by their first and last names. Luke said sometimes in practice he forgets to add the last names and is promptly met with five yes sirs in succession.
“It’s funny at times,” Luke said. “But there are also times during the game where you want your second baseman to move and it ends up your shortstop and left fielder are moving too. You just really got to watch yourself. It gets kind of crazy sometimes.”
The five Mals will be in action tomorrow at 6 p.m., as West Lauderdale begins a best-of-three series with Newton County in the third round of the 4A state playoffs at Northeast Park.