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Covington says softball like life

Lisa Covington compares softball to the game of life. There arehighs and lows, happiness and disappointment, plus a lot of hardwork in between.

Covington’s Lady Panthers overcame a slow start, won theirsecond straight Division 6-4A championship and advanced to theSouth State finals before being eliminated from the playoffs.Covington took a leave of absence to give birth to her secondchild, Allison, on Sept. 23. Then she returned for the stretch runas the Lady Panthers finished 25-8.

For her accomplishments Covington has been selected Co-Coach ofthe Year on The Daily Leader’s 2002 All-Area Slowpitch SoftballTeam. She shares the award with Andrew Redd of West Lincoln.

During Covington’s absence, assistant coaches Dan Presley andJohn Ogden directed the team. Covington said their assistance wasinstrumental in keeping the Lady Panthers on an even keel.

“I’m honored to get this award but I want to accept it on behalfof Dan Presley and John Ogden. They did what was necessary to besuccessful. Our girls showed a lot of determination.”

Covington, 33, returned to on-the-field coaching for theLawrence County game. That impressive 18-1 victory decided the toptwo spots in the division as both teams advanced to the stateplayoffs.

“Starting with Lawrence County, we started peaking,” saidCovington. “We started hitting the ball really well. We hit theball well throughout the playoffs. We got on a roll.”

Brookhaven reached the South State finals where the LadyPanthers lost a tough, best-of-three series at NortheastLauderdale, forcing three games. Northeast lost to New Hope in thestate title finals.

Slowpitch softball tradition runs deep at Brookhaven. The LadyPanthers have won five of the last six division championships.Covington has been head coach for nine seasons.

“I’m proud of our tradition,” said Covington. “Our girls knowwhat it takes to win. We are blessed with determined girls. Theypick it up when they have to.

“We have a good offseason program here in Brookhaven,” saidCovington. “Our girls play in the summer league.

“I enjoy seeing our girls succeed. Softball is kind of likelife. There’s more to it than winning games.”

Covington loses four senior starters to graduation in pitcherMandy Vinson, first baseman Samantha Boutwell, outfielder CortneyFielder and extra hitter Kensey Hoff. She will have two juniorstarters back in Chuvaqua Smith and Megan Bateman.

Covington, the daughter of Ann and Versie Rushing, grew up in asoftball atmosphere. She is a 1987 graduate of West Lincoln whereshe excelled as a basketball and softball player. She playedsoftball at Copiah-Lincoln Community College and Southern Miss. Shegraduated from USM in 1991 with a major in English education.

She is married to Gary Covington and they have two daughters.Anna Grace is 4 years old and Allison is 2 1/2 months. They aremembers of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.