June 10, 2013

A look ahead: Boyd will 'star' in two upcoming games

— Any player would want one more game. Northwest Whitfield graduate Emily Boyd is lucky enough to get two more at the high school level, where she was a dominant pitcher for the past four seasons.

And she’s also lucky because Jason Brooker, the Lady Bruins’ head coach during Boyd’s senior season, will be there for both.

Boyd and Brooker will both be part of the North roster in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Softball Showcase on Wednesday at Alto Park in Rome. The doubleheader versus the South begins at 2 p.m.

Players were selected by coaches in December during the GACA All-State selections meeting. The teams have three days of practice before Wednesday’s games. Gordon Lee’s Dana Mull will coach the North team and Brooker will be an assistant.

“It’s always exciting to be able to play against girls who you’ve played high school ball against and with and travel ball against and with,” said Boyd, who signed with Ole Miss. “I know a few girls from the southern side. I think it depends where they draw the line. If they draw it below Macon, then it might not be as many good players as there could be. ... With Atlanta, I think the North has a bigger variety of people to choose from.”

Boyd was named The Daily Citizen’s All-Area Softball Player of the Year each of the past four seasons and she led the Lady Bruins to the 2012 Class 4A state title. Brooker said he will push for her to pitch one of the games.

If that debate is anything like the one to get her a spot on the team, then it won’t be a debate at all.

“The way they did it is you go around the table and when you make a nomination, then you talk about them for a little bit,” Brooker said. “I nominated her and they all just kind of agreed, nodded their heads or raised their hands. I started to say stuff about her and they all said, ‘Just stop. You don’t have to say anything else. She’s in.’ If there was a first ballot, then she was on it.”

Boyd also will play in the Stump on Sports Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Softball Classic at 6 p.m. on June 19 at Frost Stadium in Chattanooga. Jason Brooker will be the Peach State’s head coach for that doubleheader, which features recent graduates from southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia competing for border bragging rights. Brooker said additional local players who will participate are Northwest’s Mykeah Johnson, Dalton’s Allie Blackwood and Carson Hagin and Southeast Whitfield’s Tavi Parris.

“It’s a cool experience,” Boyd said. “(Brooker) gets to coach me another time. I think it’s cool in environments where it’s not serious but you want to do your best. ... Everyone there knows you’re a good player, so your performance isn’t really indicative of anything. So it’s relaxing and fun in that way.”

• This year’s Classic series started with this past Saturday night’s football game at Chattanooga’s McCallie School, a 10-7 win for Tennessee, and the action will continue with contests for girls and boys basketball (6 and 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga); girls and boys soccer (1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga); and baseball (6 p.m. on June 17 at Ridgeland High School in Rossville). Softball will wrap up the competition for this year.

• North Georgia Speedway has its updated season schedule on the track’s redesigned website, northgaspeedway.net. The racing continues Saturday with a full program, and the Murray County dirt track is currently scheduled to have action each Saturday through Sept. 21, aside from a break on July 6.

The gates will open at 3:30 p.m. with racing starting four hours later. Pit passes are $25, grandstand tickets cost $10 and ages 11 and younger will be admitted free. For special events, prices increase by $5.

Devin Golden is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. Have something you think he should highlight in “A Look Ahead”? Write to him at devingolden@daltoncitizen.com.