Jori McMurtrey will be the first to say last year was tough.
Lakeside softball player Jori McMurtrey is in the Athlete Spotlight.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Coming off an Elite Eight appearance in Columbus, Ga., the Lakeside High School softball team fought injuries and limped through the second half of the 2004 season. The Panthers were never the same after catcher Hillary Hall went out with an injury.
"It was really a learning experience last year," said McMurtrey. "A lot of adversity was thrown at us. Because of the struggle, we are prepared for this season."
As fall practice begins, McMurtrey is ready to do whatever it takes to have a different result this year.
She was named First Team All County and All-Region after a season as the ace for the Panthers. She also played center field and hit .395 when she wasn't pitching.
"We are really prepared for this season and kind of head into it knowing that something bad could happen again," McMurtrey said. "We are all ready to have to play other positions if necessary."
The senior pitcher said she is excited about the season and getting to challenge Greenbrier, who lost Class AAAA State Pitcher of the Year Kristan Glover to graduation, for a region title.
"Obviously, they are a great team even though (Glover) is gone," she said. "The intimidation factor is gone, though. We won't step into the batter's box expecting negative things like we have against her.
"Defensively and offensively, Greenbrier is as good as anybody in the state. But I think our morale is as high as it has ever been."
McMurtrey worked in the offseason with an array of new pitches in her repertoire.
"I've worked on some spins and on a couple of pitches," said McMurtrey. "I am very excited about getting a chance to show what I've got this season."
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