February 17, 2008
Albany -- The Darton softball team is off to a great start this season, sweeping six games in a tournament in Dothan, before returning home to give defending national champ Chipola all it could handle in a double-header.
The Lady Cavs roster has a new look this season, as all but two of the seventeen players are freshman.
A majority of those players hail from Georgia, with one from Florida.....and two from Russia.
The Lady Cavs softball team reached behind the old Iron Curtin over the semester break, bringing in shortstop Tatiana Zhuchkova and third baseman Elena Litvina from Tuchkova, Russia, a small town outside of Moscow.
The duo forms a solid left side of the infield for Darton, and head coach David Dews says they've been attracting some attention.
"I caught them a couple of times kind of talking back and forth a little bit," says Dews. "I saw some eyes coming around, because they probably never heard Russian before."
They players were reluctant to test their English in an interview, but coach Dews says there hasn't been any trouble in practice.
"The communication has not been as big of a problem as I thought it might be," says the coach. "I guess the softball language is kind of universal."
The Lady Cavs learned of Zhuchkova and Litvina through some of their contacts at four-year colleges, and the players are part of the Russian Olympic Developmental team.
Dews says, "Russia's Olympic team has little teams that you kind of move up, and they develop from, all the way up. These kids are on the developmental team, and they produce really well for us."
Coach Dews says the pair is making a big impact at Darton, and the rest of the team is making it an easy transition.
"It's really interesting to see them develop with our girls," says Dews. "The chemistry is good. That's one thing here, is that all of our girls get along, and they were welcomed in with open arms."
The Lady Cavs are back in action Tuesday, as they host Lake City in a double-header starting at 2pm.