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Alma softball eager to leave its mark

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 


Alma softball coach Charla Parrish can’t wait to be back on the field. 


Neither can her players. 


“It feels like an eternity since we have been able to play,” she said. “It will be great to get back on the field again. The girls have been practicing since November and they are ready to play.”


Alma appeared to be locked and loaded in 2020. “We played two games last year,” Parrish said.


The Lady Airedales shut out Van Buren, 9-0, before run-ruling Van Buren, 14-3. 


Alma will host Southside in a benefit game today, and then open for keeps March 4 against Huntsville. 


Parrish welcomes back six starters, led by seniors Kelsey Shepherd, Lydia Swarnes, Jacklyn Petree, and Bailey Webb. 


Juniors Taelynn Perry and Halyn Carmack are also back for the Lady Airedales. 


 Petree and junior Mackenzie Martin will pitch for the Lady Airedales, Parrish said. “She has shown lots of improvement by improving her hitting and pitching and getting into physical shape,” she said.  


Shepherd will handle the catching, and Shelbi Hesson and Sydnee Hesson will play second and first, the coach said. Webb and Swarnes will start in right and left field, Parrish said. Sophomores Mackenzie Erwin and Abigail Smith will play center field and shortstop, and Jocelyn Harless will contribute as well.


Alma opens 5A-West play March 9 at Mountain Home. Parrish expects the Lady Bombers to be among the teams to beat, along with Greenbrier, Greenwood, and Vilonia. 


“Greenbrier and Greenwood are always very competitive and make it to state,” Parrish said. “Siloam and Russellville both had new coaches last year so I assume they will be better than they have been. 


“Our conference is always a tough conference to play in from top to bottom.”


Parrish hopes the team will mesh during its extensive March schedule. 


We want to get some hitting and defensive work done with some non-conference games,” she said. “We also want to get rid of some nerves out of our system before starting conference play.”