Southside team hopes to ‘sting’ competition

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 13, 2002

The key to the Southside Sting’s success in softball, claims Megan King, is the team’s funk.

But what, pray tell, is the funk? No one’s quite certain.

&uot;It’s just something that we have on the team,&uot; explains King, a Lakeland High School freshman. &uot;Nobody else can feel it.&uot;

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Even coach Edward Smither can’t give a definite answer. &uot;I think it’s kind of like a confidence that players get when they’ve been together for a long time,&uot; he says. But as long as the team keeps performing the way it has, no one’s quite worried about how to define the funk.

The Sting recently finished second in the National Softball Association (NSA) Virginia 14-and-under championships in central Virginia. Today, the players leave for Salem to take part in the NSA World Series, where they’ll compete alongside over 100 other teams from across the United States and Canada.

Smither isn’t certain of the team’s record. &uot;We’ve won a lot more than we’ve lost!&uot; is all he’ll say.

The team’s accomplishments aren’t due to huge financial reserves or hours and hours spent on the road to other fields, says pitcher Lindsay Kelly. Rather, it’s about the camaraderie that the Lady Stingers share.

&uot;Six players on this team have been here since it started four years ago,&uot; explains the Lakeland sophomore. &uot;We’ve been playing together for so long that we know each other really well.&uot; She, Katelyn Smither, Ashley Mc-Cord, Micah Smith, Jeanne Bristow and Kaitlin Espinosa have been on the team since it first began stinging.

Several of the Stingers have enjoyed success on other fields as well. Bristow and Smith were the sole freshmen on the Smithfield High School team that won the 2002 Bay Rivers District and AA Regional crown, and new player Kristen Fisher was the only freshman on the Windsor High School team that took first in the Tri-Rivers District last season.

Fisher, the Sting’s starting catcher, discovered another advantage to playing on the Sting.

&uot;At Windsor, I played second base,&uot; she says. &uot;But I’m going to play catcher next year, so playing different positions has helped me get ready for next year at Windsor.