The South Pontotoc Lady Cougars won the MHSAA Class II slowpitch state championship in 2018 with a veteran-laden lineup. This season South returned only one starter from that title team, and many players had to step up into new, big roles.
Long-time head coach Adam Patterson said before the season the Lady Cougars would simply take it one game at a time, and as the calendar turns to September it has been so far, so good. South is currently (at press time) 10-1 on the year. Last week they went 4-0, starting with a 14-2 win Tuesday over East Webster, the team that had previously dealt them their only loss of the year. They defeated Shannon 15-0 on Thursday before picking up two more victories, 13-1 over French Camp and 9-2 over Eupora, at the Eupora Tournament on Saturday.
"They've done a good job," coach Patterson said. "They practice hard and play extremely hard, and they are being able to be successful because of it. To me that is the biggest factor; their effort is really, really good and their attitude is good. It is a fun team to coach, and I am excited to see if we can keep it going."
Things only get more challenging from here with the meat of their division schedule coming up. They are currently 1-0 in Class II Region 1 with last week's win over Shannon, but the Lady Cougars face two matchups each with strong programs Corinth, Tishomingo County, Tupelo and Mooreville this month.
"I think it is a really tough district, but if we play well we have a shot to win some games; I'm looking forward to playing them and seeing how we do," Patterson said.
The Lady Cougars have been solid defensively and have had consistency from pitcher Koryn Mathews. Hitting has been good also, but Patterson says it can get better and will need to.
"Koryn is throwing strikes, and so far our defense is playing pretty well behind her; hopefully that will continue," Patterson said. "We have got to keep improving offensively. We need more people at the bottom of the lineup to produce more hits. That's going to be a big key. The top of the lineup has been hitting really well, but we need the bottom part to pick up some key hits here and there to help us turn the lineup over."