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Lady Bulldogs practice hard for opener

July 28, 2012 Lady Bulldogs practice hard for opener Steven CaryThe Union-RecorderThe Union-RecorderSat Jul 28, 2012, 08:00 AM EDT MILLEDGEVILLE — Heading into the 2012 softball season, Georgia Military Prep School’s Julie Brooker, head coach, will be looking to be competitive in her first season in the Georgia High School Association’s single A classification. Only weeks away from the Lady Bulldogs’ season opener, Brooker is pleased with where her ladies are at the end of the summer. “I think things are looking good. We have a very young team,” she said. “We just have so much excitement and enthusiasm. Being a young team, I think their excited about being on varsity.” With a lone senior, two juniors and 15 underclassmen, practice has been a high priority this summer. “We’ve been practicing pretty hard in July,” Brooker said. The Lady Bulldogs have a slew of young talent overflowing the roster, but Brooker will be looking to Brooke Williams, senior, for guidance this season. “She is honestly giving great leadership,” Brooker said. “She’s got a really big role.” Throughout the fall, GMC Prep will be keying off of sophomores Macy Watkins, Keely Murner and Dixie Raley. Raley and Murner will be impact players in the field, while Watkins hopes to provide power behind the Lady Bulldogs batting line up. Adding a little bit of young depth into the offensive line up, freshmen Kaylie and Karlie Harding could be the spark the team needs at bat. “They’re some of the best young hitters I’ve ever worked with,” Brooker said. Juniors Lauren Pearson and Jessica Hayles will be looked to for their defensive efforts, as both are key players in the field. As a young team, Brooker admits it is tough to tell just how well the Lady Bulldogs will be this season, but she believes her team has potential to play well into the playoffs late in the season. “Only time will tell, there’s a lot of experienced competition,” Brooker said. “Even though we are young, we want to gain as much experience as we can by going as deep as we can in the playoffs. Our goal is to play as best we can, and try to make a deeper run in the playoffs.” Brooker believes she is adjusting well to her new squad, and is optimistic about the team’s potential. “I’m thrilled to be a part of GMC softball, it’s been some of the most fun I’ve had coaching,” she said. “I love the potential I see in my young players. They’re just so excited to learn and they’re so coachable, it’s exciting.” Alongside Brooker in the dugout will be assistant coach Allen Simmons, which Brooker admits is a positive element to the team. “He has just been a huge asset to the team,” she said. “We’re excited to have him on board and he’s pretty excited himself, so its fun.” Going into the season, Brooker admits she has seen positive attributes in her team already, and believes the Lady Bulldogs may just surprise some teams this season. “From what I’ve seen, the better the pitching, the better the team, the more focused we are; I really like that,” she said. “Who knows, maybe we’ll surprise some folks.” The GMC Prep softball team will take the field for the first times this season at 4:30 and 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 9 in Griffin for the Diamond Day Classic hosted by Spalding County High School.