Dalton High School Catamounts

August 9, 2013

Prep softball preview: Champs reloaded

Northwest Whitfield High School’s softball team wrote the perfect ending to its 2012 season, winning the Class 4A state title in a dramatic extra-inning victory against Madison County.

But like everyone else, it’s time for the Lady Bruins to work on a new beginning — and they’ll do so without ace Emily Boyd, The Daily Citizen’s All-Area Softball Player of the Year the past four seasons, who has moved on to pitch for the University of Mississippi.

Dalton, Murray County and Southeast Whitfield were all scheduled to open their seasons Thursday at Model’s Lady Blue Devil Invitational — tournament organizers got special permission from the Georgia High School Association to begin play a day before the GHSA’s “official” earliest date for competition — and the rest of the area’s teams will all have begun play by early next week.

Here’s a glance at the varsity programs in Murray and Whitfield counties:

Christian Heritage

The Lady Lions start the season needing more wins and more players.

During its first season of GHSA competition, Christian Heritage went 6-17 overall and 4-6 in Sub-region 6A-A and missed the state playoffs. And just like last year, coach Mike Leonard’s team will be forced to improve on those numbers with a thin bench.

“Right now, we only have nine healthy bodies,” Leonard said earlier this week. “We have a really, really good core of freshmen coming in and we have five or six strong eighth-graders for next year, but that doesn’t help a lot right now. School isn’t open yet, so it makes it a little hard, but we are going to have to pick up a couple of players.”

First baseman Megan McKinney is the lone senior on the team, which has five freshmen on the roster. The team has just one junior, Micah Kilgore, and Leonard said McKinney will have to fill the leadership vacuum created by the graduation of the coach’s daughter, Rebecca Leonard, a member of The Daily Citizen’s All-Area Softball Team last year who signed with Samford.

In addition to her leadership contributions, there were plenty of statistical ones — she led the team in batting average (.426), on-base percentage (.576) and was also the winning pitcher in all six of the team’s wins.

“(McKinney) is going to have to be a leader because we are so young,” Leonard said. “I don’t think that they will come into this as freshmen and be intimidated, but they need a leader. She is going to have to step up and be a little more vocal. We know she will bring a great attitude, and we hope that will show for the team.”

With the low numbers and no depth at catcher — Haley Jones moved from her natural position at third base to behind the plate — the Lady Lions will have to play a little different style of ball.

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Dalton High School Catamounts
  • NW at DHS baseball (g3) 1 mlh.jpg Whatever it takes

    Northwest Whitfield High School’s baseball team has been successful this season. But at the same time, no one said success would be easy.
    Several times this year, the Bruins have fallen behind early in the first few innings before answering with a rally to ensure the wins keep coming. On Friday, that formula delivered a Sub-region 7B-4A championship for the second year in a row.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • DHS at SE soccer 7 mlh.jpg Prep Roundup: Unbeaten streak rolls on for Cats

    Replicating the start of last year’s Class 4A state title match, Dalton High School’s boys soccer team needed just four minutes to score its first goal at Southeast Whitfield on Friday.
    The Catamounts scored five more — and again defended their crown of dominance in the sport.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep Roundup: Bruins power past Cats for key victory at home

    TUNNEL HILL — Similar to Wednesday’s Sub-region 7B-4A baseball series opener at Dalton High School, Northwest Whitfield fell behind early Thursday versus the Catamounts.

    April 11, 2014

  • NW at SE baseball 7   mlh.jpg Prep Baseball: Looking for a leader

    Dalton High School baseball coach Shane Ramsey only needed one word to sum up what he expects from this week’s three-game series with Sub-region 7B-4A foe and intracounty rival Northwest Whitfield.
    “Intensity,” he said. “If you can’t get up for this series, then why are you playing?”

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep Roundup: Dalton golf teams in form at Fields Ferry

    Even in wet and muddy conditions, both the Dalton High School boys and girls golf teams are sharpening their games at the right time.
    With the Region 7-4A tournament scheduled in two weeks, both the Catamounts and the Lady Cats finished second during play at the Fields Ferry Invitational in Calhoun on Monday. Despite the soggy conditions, Dalton’s Jacob Brown tied for medalist honors with a 2-over par 74 to lead the Cats to a 313 combined score in the six-play, four-score format. Dalton finished three strokes behind tournament winner LaFayette.

    April 8, 2014

  • Wrestler of the year 2014 2 mlh.jpg All-Area Wrestling Team and Wrestler of the Year: Winning another title was the only goal for Wheeler

    When Dalton High School wrestler Sidney Wheeler won a state title for the first time two years ago as a sophomore, he admitted he became a little complacent about what it would take to replicate the feat — perhaps not noticeably so to most observers, but enough to take success for granted. Wheeler believed it a matter of course that he would win state again, and he thought the second title would simply be the middle child in a high school three-peat.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep Roundup: Behr finds his stroke in Vidalia

    Dalton High School golfer Allen Behr shot a 3-under-par 69 during the second day of the Indian Invitational in Vidalia to lead the Catamounts to a top-10 finish in the event Saturday.

    April 6, 2014

  • dhs v lafayette baseball1.jpg Out of control victory

    Dalton and LaFayette high schools are on spring break this week, and on Monday their baseball teams’ pitching took a vacation when it came to throwing strikes.
    The teams combined for 14 walks and four hit batters in a Sub-region 7B-4A game at Dalton, although most of the damage belonged to the host Catamounts, who won 5-4 despite their control problems.

    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

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    Grant Sane isn’t a player who is concerned with his stats or his individual accomplishments. He is more interested in doing whatever he can do for his Dalton High School baseball team to be successful.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ridgeland at DHS baseball 3 mlh.jpg Sharp enough to win

    Dalton High School freshman pitcher Sam Stepp found himself in a jam a lot during Wednesday’s home game against Ridgeland.
    He always found a way out.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo