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      Neel, Lady Cavaliers get acquainted


      Eric Neel arrived just in time.

      Darton State hired Neel as the school's new softball coach right before official practice started on January 10th. Neel was a renowned high school coach in Mississippi, where he won five state championships.

      The new coach hopes to hit the ground running. Seven sophomores return to a team that won over 30 games last season, and Neel likes his pitching staff and lineup.

      Hopes are high for the Lady Cavaliers.

      "A national championship would be nice," said sophomore Sierra Newman. "We just want to go through region, see what we can do, aim for state, and go from there."

      Even though this is year one for Neel, he expects it to mark the early stages of a softball powerhouse at Darton.

      "We'd be selling ourselves short if we didn't try for the national championship," Neel said. "We're not gonna walk around and say we're gonna be the national champions, but that's definitely what we're working for today."

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