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Lawrence Co.’s Stokes receives PopStar honor

MONTICELLO — Lawrence County pitcher Kelly Stokes continuesadding to her list of fastpitch softball honors. The seniorright-hander has been nominated for the 2004 PopStar Award in girlsfastpitch softball.

Stokes will be among the athletes honored Monday night at theMississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, located on LakelandDrive in Jackson. Admission is $20 and entitles the person to abuffet barbecue supper, starting at 5 p.m., followed by the awardsprogram.

The PopStar award in named in honor of the late W.C. “Pop”Allen,longtime athletic director for the Jackson Public Schools and aLincoln County native. Male and female athletes in 21 sportscategories will be honored.

The PopStar program provides an opportunity for schools andcommunity businesses to salute their area athletes.

Stokes led the Lady Cougars to a third place finish in the Class4A state playoffs. They posted a 29-7 record, losing to four-timestate champ East Central in the South State Championships series.They lost the third and decisive game to East Central in eightinnings, falling 1-0.

For the season, Stokes established herself as a record-settingpitcher at Lawrence County. She struck out 363 batters and walkedjust 31 in 229 innings. She achieved a 1.19 ERA.

At the plate, Stokes batted .333. She hit 2 home runs, 3triples, 5 doubles and 23 singles. She also stole 10 bases.

“We had a great year and I’m very proud of what weaccomplished,” said Stokes. “I think we had the best team in thestate.

“We got along so well as a team,” Stokes continued. “Everybodyknew their part. My teammates saved me several times. I cherish mydefense more than anything. I love them like sisters.”

Stokes has signed a softball scholarship with Delta StateUniversity. Before moving to Monticello, she pitched for GreenvilleChristian Academy, starting on the mound as a seventh grader.

Asked about improvements in her pitching this year, Stokesanswered, “I threw the ball harder and my pitches worked better. Ihad more spin on them and I was more focused. I was moreconfident.”

LCHS head coach Beronica Stringfellow said Stokes pitched hardevery game. “Kelly is a real competitor. She doesn’t like tolose.”

Stokes said she was looking forward to playing for Delta State.”I’ve already got my workout schedule for the summer.”

Stokes also has been selected to play in next month’sMississippi Association of Coaches All-Star Fastpitch SoftballGame. She and catcher Gina McCloud will represent Lawrence Countyon the South squad.

Brookhaven catcher Megan Bateman also was named to the Southfastpitch team. The best-of-three series will be played at NewtonCounty on June 26, starting at noon.