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County players unite to play, win, have fun

The Angels might not have many players. But they still have done pretty well in their two tournaments.

By TERRY JONES

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 29, 2000


TAMPA -- For nearly six years, The Angels have been a travel softball team, competing in Florida and other states. It used to be the Temple Terrace Angels.

However, after a successful season last year, many of the players moved on to other teams. And with so many players now from so many parts of Hillsborough County, the name Temple Terrace was dropped in favor of simply The Angels.

"Four dads of the girls decided to keep the team together again this season, so the girls who wanted to could play together one more season," co-coach Jim Johnson said.

"Most of the players will be high school seniors next year. A couple will be juniors, and some are already in college. They are all good players and will be playing again at six separate high schools next spring."

Jerry Hayden, Dale Coe and Ed Webster share coaching duties with Johnson. So far this season, the team has placed second and fourth in the two tournaments it has played. Its record is 5-2-2.

Johnson said he and the other coaches mostly want the girls to have fun. Because the players have other activities and with only 11 players, The Angles sometimes have only nine players for tournaments.

But that is enough for a team.

"We must have every player capable of playing more than one position," Johnson said.

"All the girls have better-than-average softball skills and are contributing factors to the six teams they play with during the high school season."

Cathy Coe, part of the starting rotation for Gaither, also pitches for the Angels.

Jessica Hayden, who helped Plant make it all the way to the state championship after knocking off the top-ranked Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas in the semifinals, alternates with Coe.

Hayden and Coe give the Angels a rotation as strong as any in the state.

King senior Tracy Johnson is the primary catcher, but she also occasionally fills in at shortstop and all of the outfield positions.

Michelle Motl, a junior at King, also plays all three outfield positions and fills in once in a while at second base.

Anita Thompson, a junior at Chamberlain this fall, spells Johnson behind the plate when needed. She also plays in the outfield and has the speed and skills to fill in at third. Christina Thompson, a Chamberlain senior, is the primary shortstop. Nicolette Webster, a former Chamberlain starter and a sophomore at Florida Atlantic next season, plays first base and the outfield.

Her sister, Karla, a freshman starter for Chamberlain last season, plays third.

Lindsey Hurner and Lindsey Manso represent Class 5A state champion Riverview. Both will be seniors next season for the Sharks.

Both are fast outfielders. Manso doubles at second base while Hurner also plays first.

Tracy Edwards, a Hillsborough graduate this year, plays shortstop and all of the outfield positions.

"Right now, the girls of The Angels are having fun playing the game and doing a pretty good job," Johnson said.

"If the team continues to do well and earns a berth in the nationals, well, we will take that when and if it comes."

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