GSU softball coach upbeat about 2008 season

After a dismal 3-35 campaign in 2007, the Grambling State women’s softball team comes in to 2008 with a new frame of mind and attitude as they look to put last year’s debacle behind them and get back to the top of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Entering his second season at the helm of the softball program, coach Wilbert Early, a New Orleans native, brings a lot of coaching experience to the Tiger softball team.

Prior to his arrival at Grambling, he served eight years as an assistant coach for Southern. During his tenure with the Jaguars, he was instrumental in helping produce several SWAC Western Division titles.

Coach Early also served as the head softball coach and as an assistant football coach (coaching quarterbacks and wide receivers) at John McDonough High School in New Orleans.

Early’s philosophy is very simple: He believes in being aggressive and attacking. Since softball is a fast-paced game, he likes to put pressure on the opponents’ defense, forcing them to make quick decisions.

He stands by the saying “No situation is to difficult to deal with.”

On the field, the Lady Tigers will look completely different from a season ago. They return only two players, third baseman Ashley Carter and first baseman Jackie Deleon.

The rest of the team will consists of five transfers, three from Division 1A level and two from the junior college level. The rest are incoming freshmen.

Early will heavily rely on seniors Deleon and Carter to be leaders and mentor his young but talented team.

This year Early is excited and likes his team’s chances.

“It is an exciting new team this season,” Early said. “We have excellent chemistry between our freshmen, transfers and veterans.”

The coach added that the pitching staff will be tested early.

The Lady Tigers open the season on Feb. 8 in Atlanta, then they will travel to Pineville to face Louisiana College on Feb. 13.

Assistant coaches Jamaal Taylor and Amish Bledsoe have circled April 11-12 against Southern as the most pivotal game on the lady Tigers’ schedule.

The team’s home opener will be at 1 p.m. Feb. 19 against Texas College.