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Struggling Lady Jaguars get first softball win in two years
by Ericka Birdsong
ebirdsong@neighbornewspapers.com
August 28, 2013 10:17 AM | 1112 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New Manchester’s Taiylar Hibbard warms up before a home game last week against East Paulding.
New Manchester’s Taiylar Hibbard warms up before a home game last week against East Paulding.
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New Manchester pitcher Amari Lawson warms up before a home game last week against East Paulding.
New Manchester pitcher Amari Lawson warms up before a home game last week against East Paulding.
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The New Manchester Lady Jaguars welcomed a new head coach to the softball program this season and already are having a better season than last year.

First-year head coach Monica Marks led the team to a win in its season opener against Pebblebrook, 14-6, after coming off a 0-14 season in 2012.

Marks has coached softball for 14 years at two different schools – Newton High and Alcovy High in Covington. She also played fastpitch at Mercer University, graduating in 1996.

Beginning at Alcovy in 2010, after taking a four-year hiatus from being a head coach, Marks coached the Tigers to a 13-13 record. Their best record with Marks came in her final year, 2012, when the team finished the season at the top of Region 2-AAAAAA and a 28-6-1 record after making it to the second round of the GHSA Class AAAAAA State Softball Playoffs.

Upon applying for a teaching position at New Manchester, Marks said the head coaching position for the softball team was open so she decided to interview for that, also.

This year’s varsity team has 12 players, with three returning starters. Marks named these three as the top returning players for the team – shortstop and third base Anika Carter, catcher Taiylar Hibbard and pitcher and shortstop Amari Lawson.

Since winning the season opener, the Lady Jags have not had the same success, putting them at 1-3 after last Thursday’s game, with losses to Bowdon, Hiram and East Paulding.

New Manchester hosted East Paulding on Aug. 22 for its fourth game of the season, losing 9-1. Hibbard had two hits, Lawson pitched and had one hit, Carter scored the team’s only run and Nile Jones had a hit as well.

While the team is struggling, Marks said the players are improving.

“The players on the team want to get better and work hard at practice and games,” Marks said.

With the program at New Manchester in its third season, the team and its new coach are working on more than just having a winning season — they are working to build the program.

“We are trying to build our program and want to be competitive in our region,” said Marks about the goals for the team, “The expectation is to continue to improve with every game. The more game experience the team gets, the better we will get.”
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