Softball Welcomed With Muddy Start

by Ryan Peterson

As the Lufkin Lady Panthers begin a new season in the slop and mud, it's a fitting reflection of the 2007 season.

"I was really sad after last year," Head Coach Nikki Forest says.  "I'm used to winning ball games.  After having a season like last year, it makes me question what I'm telling the girls."

The losses piled up and district play was not fun.

"It was hard to come in and try to help fix it," Sophomore Pitcher Starla Deponte says.

Deponte is a ray of hope for the Lady Panthers.

The sophomore is a the teams new pitching ace, and brings a winning attitude from a successful junior varsity team.

"We worked harder in off season," Deponte says.  "I see a difference in coach. There's a different attitude."

"I think of this as our rebuilding year," Forest says.  "Back to basics."

Forest says the team no longer accepts losing.   And after changing some of her own coaching methods, the Lady Panthers will return to the success they once knew.