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Stringfellow leads Lawrence County to great campaign

MONTICELLO – Veronica Stringfellow’s first year as fastpitchsoftball coach at Lawrence County couldn’t have been much better.Her Lady Cougars were Class 4A South State runners-up and theyposted a 20-l3-2 record.

For her accomplishments, Stringfellow has been selected Coach ofthe Year on The Daily Leader’ first All-Area Girls FastpitchSoftball Team for the 2001-02 school year.

Stringfellow is a 1995 graduate of Clinton High School. Shegraduated from Belhaven College with a degree in biology. Herhusband, Don Stringfellow, played baseball at Belhaven.

She inherited a strong slowpitch tradition at Lawrence County.The Lady Cougars had been state title contenders last fall duringthe slowpitch campaign.

“Here, everything was based on slowpitch philosophy,” saidStringfellow. “Fastpitch was secondary.

“I had the athletes to work with and they played solid defense,”she continued. “I taught them what I knew about hitting and theyworked hard to get better.

“It was a matter of hitting the ball. Batting was the key. Weused pitching machines, softpitch and even broomsticks with whiffelgolf balls.”

Stringfellow’s team played a brutal schedule, mainly againstClass 5A powerhouses, including Pascagoula. They produced a 3-1record in the Clinton Invitational and the team began findingthemselves.

“Early in the season we grew,” said Stringfellow. “We wentthrough errors and striking out. Finally, after the Clintontournament, everything started falling into place. Our team tookoff.”

Lawrence County made an impressive showing in the statetournament, led by senior pitcher Ashley Davis who has signed ascholarship with Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

“If you have a dominating pitcher, you can win in fastpitch,”said Stringfellow. “You must have good defense, too. Our girls madeplays on defense that never happened before. They dove for ballsand made big plays.”

The Lady Cougars surprised East Central in the South Statefinals before losing the best-of-three series to the eventual statechamps. They also beat Class 5A Clinton 5-4 in a rematch afterlosing to Stringfellow’s alma mater 5-0 at Monticello during theregular season.

Stringfellow said she was extremely proud of her team and theireffort to improve during the season. She singled out sophomorecatcher Allie Williamson.

“Allie had never caught before,” said Stringfellow. “She wasscared to death of the ball when she was batting. One day I toldher to go catch. She put on the equipment and did well. She playedthe last two games with a broken throwing hand.”

At Belhaven, Stringfellow played center field. She has along-range goal of becoming a dentist, preferably anorthodontist.

Presently, Stringfellow enjoys umpiring games during the summermonths. She plans to organize a traveling fastpitch team thissummer for LCHS team members so they can improve their skills.

“We need to develop some more pitchers.”