HINES FURNITURE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Laurence Manning's Prickelmyer sets the table for red-hot Lady 'Cats


The Laurence Manning softball team is on fire, winning their last nine games heading into Wednesday's contest with Lee Academy.

At the top of the lineup of their high-powered offense is Lyza Prickelmyer. The freshman continued a great start to the season last week, collecting five hits in a pair of blowout wins. Her performance also helped her be recognized as the Hines Furniture Athlete of the Week.

"I feel like we have a lot of people that support us," Prickelmyer said. "I figured there would be a good amount of people that would come out and vote."

As the team's leadoff hitter, it's Prickelmyer's job to get on base to start the scoring push. She did that well last week, scoring five runs on five hits as LMA thumped Hammond 10-0 and cruised past Ben Lippen 16-1.

"I just have to make sure I keep a good attitude and help the rest of the team out and set the tone and hopefully get on base," Prickelmyer said. "Most of the time, when one person hits, everyone starts hitting."

Head coach Buddy Truett saw her ability to jumpstart a rally last week, even later in the ball game when she's not necessarily opening an inning at the dish.

"She started a couple of rallies, her and Marlee (Black). She got on base every time (against Ben Lippen), and that really helped drive in some runs," Truett said. "She'll put the ball in play whether she gets a hit or not. She's a tough out."

Prickelmyer has been out to a strong start, hitting .385 on the season. She feels like she's really starting to find her groove as LMA prepares to take a week off for spring break.

"I've been seeing the ball better these last couple of weeks," Prickelmyer said.

The Lady 'Cats have carried some excellent momentum from last season, which saw a number of middle-schoolers and freshmen thrown into the action as they made a run to the SCISA 3A state championship series against Wilson Hall. Prickelmyer has felt that confidence boost carry into this spring.

"It definitely gives us a lot of confidence because we're a really young team," Prickelmyer said. "We know that we're pretty good, and I think we can do well in the tournament if we stay together and work hard."

The freshman utility player is one of many young stars for the Lady Swampcats. She loves being a part of the young core that's starting to come together at LMA.

"It's pretty fun. We've all been playing with each other for a while," Prickelmyer said. "I've been playing with some of these girls since 7&8U in travel ball."

Truett isn't overly concerned about the age of the players stepping to the plate, but knows this young group can be something special.

"They definitely stick out being so young, but they're a part of this team. We don't look at it as age or grade, we just look at the performance at the end of the day," Truett said. "They fit in well with these girls."

The Lady Swampcats will match up against Wilson Hall for a rematch of the championship series when they return from spring break. Prickelmyer is looking forward to seeing their rivals again soon.

"I think it'll definitely be a good game. As long as we work together, I think we'll do well," Prickelmyer said. "It's always a good matchup with us and them."