North Pulaski Coach Jack Casey is waiting for a day when all pieces are in place and he can get a true measure of his softball team.
Although the Falcons are 4-1 and undefeated (4-0) in 5A-North play, Casey still doesn’t know how good his team is. North Pulaski’s four conference victories are doubleheader wins over Pulaski Academy and Little Rock Christian. The lone loss was to Lonoke prior to Spring break, and that was a contest where some of the starters didn’t play.
Tuesday, the Falcons defeated Christian, 18-3 and 16-2. Both of those contests ended early because of the run-rule.
"We were better than game before (Spring break), but it is still hard to gauge," Casey said. "Our first two conference games the teams just didn’t have pitching."
Casey said the girls swing too early because the ball is slower than it should be. In practice this week, North Pulaski will work on hitting a slower ball so as not to get caught off guard again.
Morgan Rosbrough pitched the first contest, and Brianna Escovido was on the mound in the second. Casey singled both out as having good performances. He also noticed Rosbrough’s overall hitting as well as Shelby Floyd’s.
Casey did see a few things the team needs to improve—base running and communication in the field. Both will be stressed in practice this week.
"We have to communicate and keep our head in the game," Casey said. "Things like what base to throw to is one thing. It’s hard to do that when you are in a game like those (Tuesday night)."
Casey is anxious to see how the Falcons perform in the Jae Lynn Russell Tournament. The competition hosted by North Pulaski is in honor of a cheerleader who died in a car accident. While the tournament is a lot of work for Casey, he hopes to get a measure of his team. In addition to North Pulaski, the teams are Maumelle, Jacksonville, Lonoke, Mayflower, Little Rock Hall, Tuckerman, Pulaski Robinson and Forrest City. The Falcons play Mayflower at 1 p.m. Friday.
"Lonoke is on our side of the bracket so it should be competitive," Casey said. "I don’t know how we’ve done in the past, but we would love to win it."
Since Casey is a first-year coach and doesn’t know what the personnel did last year, he is still experimenting with the lineup. He says it is hard to figure out who should be at second or third base when a ball is not hit there. Perhaps the tournament competition will give him some perspective.