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Smith, Burke sign Co-Lin softball pacts

Two of Lincoln County’s best softball players plan on playingfor Copiah-Lincoln Community College next season. Seniors KaylinBurke of Enterprise and Lauren Smith of West Lincoln signedfastpitch softball scholarships Tuesday with Co-Lin.

Co-Lin fastpitch coach Allen Kent said he was happy to have bothplayers coming to his program. Kent’s Lady Wolves have becomeannual state title contenders.

Smith has been a 5-year starter at West Lincoln, playingslowpitch and fastpitch for Coach Andrew Redd’s Lady Bears. Sheplayed second base in slowpitch and catcher in fastpitch.

“Lauren is a very good fielder with a great arm and a quickrelease,” said Kent. “She is versatile enough to play severalpositions.

“Lauren handles the bat well and she has a good work ethic,”Kent pointed out. “We plan to work her behind the plate and in theinfield.”

Smith, the daughter of Jimmy and Becky Smith, said she waslooking forward to playing for Co-Lin. “I’m excited about signing ascholarship. Softball is something I really like to do.”

An honor student, Smith said she is undecided on a major, butshe is leaning toward a career in education. She wants to teach andcoach.

A 6-year member of the Margo’s Cargo select softball squad basedin Florence, Smith helped the team win two World Series titles andfinish runners-up twice.

“Lauren has been our starting second baseman for five years andshe’s been our leadoff batter,” said Redd. “You could always counton her to get the clutch hit and make big plays on defense.”

Smith helped lead the Lady Bears to the South State 1A slowpitchsemifinals last fall. She batted .485 and was named to The DAILYLEADER’s All-Area Slowpitch Team. She also made the DL’s FastpitchDream Team and batted .438 as a catcher. She also starts at guardfor West Lincoln’s basketball team.

Burke, a versatile 5-4 athlete who plays catcher in fastpitchand outfield in slowpitch, earned MVP honors at Enterprise. Shealso was named to The DL’s All-Area Softball Teams, batting .556 inslowpitch and .355 in fastpitch. She plays guard in basketball.

“Kaylin is the best all-around player I’ve ever had, from top tobottom,” said Enterprise softball coach Steve Sasser. “She’sexceptional mentally and physically. She also has good softballinstincts on the field.”

Burke, an honor student, said she plans to pursue a career innursing at Co-Lin. The daughter of Kyle and Charissa Burke saidchemistry is her favorite class.

“Kaylin will bring speed and versatility to our program,” saidKent. “She has played infield and outfield. That makes her morevaluable. She’s able to step in and play wherever she is needed themost. She can bat from both sides of the plate, too.

“I know Coach Sasser will miss having her around next year,”Kent continued. “It seems like she’s been a starter at Enterpriseforever.”

Burke played all-star softball during the summer for LincolnLumber and SFI.