Northwestern State opens spring practice Monday


The Northwestern State softball team sidestepped piles of construction materials for the Lady Demons’ new dugouts Monday as they participated in their first spring practice.

NSU coach Donald Pickett is waiting on more brick to arrive to finish the job, but the process of laying the team’s foundation continued with a two-and-half hour session Monday.

Coming off a 28-win season and Southland Conference Tournament appearance, Pickett has an interesting blend of veterans and newcomers that provide a lot of options and combinations.

“We’re really excited to get started back up with practice and classes after a productive fall season,” said Pickett, who is the program’s record holder with 267 wins as he starts his 11th season. “We’ve got a lot of competition at different spots, and almost everybody is healthy right now.

“This is one of the deeper teams I’ve had, and we expect the competition at different positions to sharpen our players as the season approaches.

NSU begins its season Feb. 8 with five games in the three days at the Texas Classic, including a pair against the Longhorns.

The Lady Demons’ home opener is Feb. 19 in a doubleheader against Fairleigh Dickinson, which leads into the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission’s Lady Demon Classic on Feb. 22-24.

Season tickets are now on sale at or through the ticket office at 318-357-4268.

NSU returns two all-conference performers in sophomore Cayla Jones (NFCA All-Region First Team) and junior Kaitlyn St. Clair to lead a group of seven position starters and one weekend starting pitcher.

Redshirt senior Mikayla Brown (2015 SLC Pitcher of the Year) will anchor a staff that includes six arms, including midweek starter E.C. Delafield.

But the staff is deeper than in years past as four newcomers will challenge for innings.

NSU will push for its sixth postseason appearance in seven years, which includes SLC Tournament titles in 2013 and 2014 with a regular season crown in 2015.
Photo Credit: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services