Long Beach Lady Bearcats softball team shines
By Andy Kanengiser
The Lady Bearcats softball team punched their ticket to compete in the 5A South State Championship in early May.
Close wins over South Jones in late April helped get the Maroon & White there as they battled for a spot in Mississippi’s high school championships.
The Bearcats played away against East Central on Friday, May 7, and returned home for a contest on the diamond the following day.
Softball Coach Andy Hermann’s team comes with a strong unit, with three outstanding players: Alyssa Tinsley, Laurel Ladner and Breeauna Troup.
Troup’s success on the diamond for the Lady Bearcats is opening doors this fall.
Mississippi Valley State University’s softball team will welcome Troup, 17, a Long Beach senior, as a freshman on the Itta Bena campus.
All season long in South Mississippi, Troup, who plays centerfield and third base, developed strong friendships with her teammates in the Friendly City.
“I love playing with the Bearcats, because of how we work together as a team to win our games,” she said. “We have a good bond with each other.’’
Also set to showcase her softball skills at the next level is Laurel Ladner. A utility player who can fill any spot in the lineup, Ladner, 18, will join the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College softball team next fall.
Home or away, the Long Beach girls softball squad featured a formidable supporting cast.
While Troup may be getting headlines as a Mississippi Valley State signee, Tinsley and Ladner are softball standouts, too.
“Those two have been consistently on top this year, as well,” Hermann said. “These girls have stuck with each other for four years, and everything is coming together this year.”
In 2021, the Lady Bearcats squad relied on solid pitching performances from Katelyn Schroeder and Kayleigh Garrett.
“Both have been outstanding on the mound for us,” Hermann said. “These two pitchers have been dominant throughout the season.”
The Bearcats proved they can handle the pressure of playing tight games. That includes a 6-5 win over Wayne County on May 1. That followed a 6-5 playoff triumph over South Jones on April 27 and a 4-2 victory over the same South Mississippi team 24 hours earlier.