Lawrence County’s Smith tops Dream Team
At bat or on the mound, Lawrence County’s Stacy Smith providedan intimidating presence. She swung the bat with authority andprovided pin-point pitching, leading the Lady Cougars (31-6) to theClass 4A state championship finals against New Hope.
For her performance, Smith has been selected The DAILY LEADER’sPlayer of the Year on the 2003 All-Area Slowpitch Softball Team. Asa senior, Smith batted .627 and hit 16 home runs. She drove in 70runs and scored 65 runs. She compiled a 25-6 record on themound.
Defensive Player of the Year honors went to Brookhaven shortstopMegan Bateman. Offensive Player of the Year recognition goes toBrittney Alexander of North Pike.
Joining Smith on the mound are pitches Brittany Smith ofBrookhaven and Brittani Phillips of West Lincoln. Catchers areMaygan McCloud of Lawrence County, Taylor Crane of Brookhaven andAngie Davis of Brookhaven Academy. The academy teams play slowpitchin the spring and Davis graduated last spring, signing ascholarship with Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
Dream Team infielders include Bateman, Allie Williamson ofLawrence County, Meleah Brown of Bogue Chitto and Ashley Sykes ofBrookhaven.
Outfielders are Alexander, Lyndsay Franklin of West Lincoln,Kaylin Burke of Enterprise and Ashley Autman of LawrenceCounty.
Lawrence County’s Emily Smith is the team’s extra hitter andHeather Sanders of Lawrence County is the utility player.
“Stacy has a great attitude toward sports and life in general,”said Lawrence County head coach Tarvey Ward. “She is a good teamleader. She leads by example.”
A popular student, Smith has been selected Miss Lawrence CountyHigh School. Smith said she has been playing softball since she was6 years old.
“I was more patient at the plate this year,” said the 5-foot-9Smith. “I’m proud of how hard our team worked this year. We did thebest we could do.”
Smith drew 15 bases on balls this season. Her 16 homers were 1shy of her younger sister, Emily’s total.
Bateman was the only senior on Brookhaven’s slowpitch team.
“Megan is a gutsy player,” said BHS coach Lisa Covington. “Sheplayed with heart and determination. She always gave 110 percent.Her outstanding defensive play was one of the main reasons for oursuccess this year.”
Bateman, standing 5-foot-2, used a Worth glove this season tomake many outstanding defensive plays. At the plate, she batted.364 for the season and .526 in 6 playoff games.
For the last three years, Bateman has played shortstop. As afreshman she played left field.
“Megan is a very smooth player,” said Covington. “She has goodrange and a strong arm. She’s one of the best I’ve ever had.”
Asked about future plans, Bateman said she plans to sign asoftball scholarship with Co-Lin in January. She wants to pursue acareer in coaching and teaching. She plays shortstop and catcher infastpitch.
Bateman said she was impressed by the batting skills of StacySmith. “Stacy was intimidating with her bat. She hit hard linedrives and homers.”
Asked about her defensive approach at shortstop, Bateman saidshe tried to learn each batter’s range. “I usually look for wherethey hit (last time). Coach tells us where to shift.”
Alexander directed North Pike to the Region 7-3A championship.Along the way, she batted .569 and slugged 20 home runs.
“Brittney is an all-around great softball player,” said NorthPike head coach Sonya Wallace. “She runs the bases well and is anexcellent outfielder. She hits the ball to both sides of the field.She’s also an outstanding leader on and off the field for us.”
Brittany Smith, a sophomore, posted a 21-8 record for the LadyPanthers. At the plate, she batted .376.
Brittany Phillips, a sophomore, compiled a 28-11 record for theLady Bears as Coach Andrew Redd’s team reached the South State 1Afinals, losing to Union, the eventual state champion. At the plate,she had a .421 average.
Maygan McCloud, a freshman catcher, batted .434 for the LadyCougars.
Taylor Crane, a junior, batted .483 for the Lady Panthers.
Angie Davis, a senior, batted .565 for the BA Lady Cougars.
Allie Williamson, a senior, was leadoff batter for LawrenceCounty and batted .538.
Meleah Brown, a sophomore, played shortstop for Coach DuaneBurt’s Lady ‘Cats. She batted .423.
Ashley Sykes, a sophomore, batted .611 for the Lady Panthers.She also hit 13 homers, 10 doubles and batted .696 in the stateplayoffs.
Lyndsay Franklin, a senior, is an all-around athlete at WestLincoln. She batted .492.
Kaylin Burke, a junior, batted .507 for Coach Steve Sasser’sLady Yellow Jackets.
Ashley Autman, a senior, batted .465 for Lawrence County and hit4 homers.
Emily Smith, a sophomore, batted .574 for Lawrence County. Shewas walked 21 times and accounted for 69 RBI, scoring 67 runs.
Heather Sanders, a senior, hit 2 homers and batted .500.
HONORABLE MENTION WITH DISTINCTION
Bogue Chitto: Marley Porter, Kia Porter, Wendy Fairchild.
Brookhaven: Allison Wallace, Portia Dickey, Kayla Price.
Brookhaven Academy: Amber Beeson, Emily Langley, JessicaHart.
Enterprise: Vivian Lang, Alisha Mason.
Franklin County: Cari Smallwood, Cayce Mack.
Lawrence County: Kelly Stokes, Kaila Givens, Cori Walker.
North Pike: Emily VanLandingham, Haley Boyd.
West Lincoln: Lauren Smith, Alicia Kennedy, April Kennedy, EmilyRichardson.