A trophy won’t be awarded when high school softball teams gather next week for the 3rd Annual Lady Pirate Softball Beach Experience & Softball in the Sand tournament.
But that doesn’t mean the 20 games played between the seven participating teams on Monday and Tuesday aren’t important to players and coaches. The games will be played at the Brunswick High and Glynn Academy fields.
Lady Pirates coach Brian Crawford said it gives him a chance to evaluate his younger players and provide them an opportunity to face varsity talent. There are lots of starting jobs up for grabs with the loss of eight players from last year’s team to graduation.
Last season, Crawford’s team was the No. 3 seed out of Region 2-6A in the state playoffs. They failed to advance past the first round after losing two games to Coffee County in the three-game series.
The Lady Pirates have a young team this season, with just four seniors and two juniors. That means there are opportunities for the team’s sophomores and juniors to earn starting jobs.
“It’s more prep for the season,” he said. “You get a chance to move some of your younger players around.”
Another goal is to develop the chemistry needed where the players learn to trust each other and don’t try to put too much pressure on themselves to help the team win games.
“I’m really interested in what they bring, how they play together as a unit,” he said. “The goal is to build a team.”
Brunswick High will play eight games in next week’s two-day tournament, starting at 9 a.m. Monday when the junior varsity squad hosts Brantley County in a doubleheader. The second game will be played at 11 a.m.
The varsity team will face Coffee County at 3 p.m. later in the day, followed by the junior varsity squad facing Westfield High at 7 p.m. The varsity team will take to the field again at 9 p.m. to face Brantley High.
The Lady Pirates will face Ware County at 11 a.m. Tuesday, followed by a 3 p.m. game against John Milledge Academy. The junior varsity teams from Brunswick High and Glynn Academy will play at 7 p.m. at Brunswick.
Glynn Academy will play six games next week, facing John Milledge in a doubleheader Monday with the first game starting at 5 p.m. followed by the second game at 7 p.m. at Glynn’s field.
The Lady Terrors will take to the field Tuesday, with the first game played at 1 p.m. against Charlton County and another game at 5 p.m. against Westfield. The junior varsity squad will play Coffee County at 3 p.m. before traveling to Brunswick High Field to face Brunswick High at 7 p.m.
Glynn Academy coach Jim Horton said the tournament will help him evaluate his younger players and give them a chance to play with the varsity squad. He said only three or four starting jobs are already taken.
“We lost six seniors last year,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of holes to fill.”
Horton said as many as eight freshmen stand a chance of getting playing time on the varsity team this season, and he has as many as eight pitchers good enough to start games.
“They all throw well,” he said.
Horton said he’s optimistic he will field a competitive team capable of making the playoffs and advancing past the first round. The Lady Terrors, the No. 4 seed out of the region last season, was swept in the first round of the playoffs by No. 1 seed Lee County.
“I’ve got some good talent,” Horton said. “All of them are hard workers but none of them come with a superstar mentality.”