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South splits fastpitch; North takes slowpitch

DECATUR — Two strong pitching performances highlightedSaturday’s Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star SoftballFastpitch twinbill at Newton County. The South won the opener 2-0and the North took the finale 3-0.

Lawrence County’s Kaila Givens played third base in the firstgame and did a commendable job according to South co-coach BeronicaStringfellow of Lawrence County. Givens, a Southwest CommunityCollege signee, usually plays second base.

“Kaila had never played there but she stepped up and got the jobdone,” said Stringfellow. “She had several putouts. We didn’t havemany third baseman on the team.

“The pitchers were very much a big part of the game,” saidStringfellow. Lauren Harger of East Central pitched the openingvictory, beating Southaven’s Nikki Dunn of the North.

In the second game, Lauren Anderson of Warren Central and SaraGilmore of Bay St. Louis shared South duties on the mound. KatyChandler of Neshoba Central pitched the North’s victory.

“We had a real good time,” said Stringfellow. “I enjoyedit.”

The two fast-pitch games both made history – the first for itslength, and the second for its brevity. Game 1 of the fastpitchseries lasted 1 hour, 41 minutes, which broke the old record forlongest MAC Fast-Pitch All-Star Game by two minutes. The secondgame, which lasted 1 hour, 18 minutes, was the shortest fastpitchgame since the MAC began holding All-Star fastpitch games in2002.

The South now leads the fastpitch series 2-0-2, and with its winin the slowpitch series, the North leads the South 9-8-2 in theslowpitch All-Star matchups.

North Wins Slowpitch

In the slowpitch encounter, the South won the opener 6-5 but theNorth rallied to clinch the series, winning 4-0 and 4-2.

“It was a matchup of two teams with very good ball players,”said West Lincoln coach Andrew Redd, who along with Sonya Wallaceof North Pike, coached the South squad. “It came down to who madethe fewest errors and got the big hits.”

West Lincoln’s Lauren Smith and Alicia Kennedy sparkled ondefense for the South squad, drawing compliments from severalcoaches who were in attendance.

“Lauren and Alicia made some excellent plays on defense,” saidRedd. Smith went 2-for-9 at the plate.

“The North’s defense took a lot of hits away from a lot ofpeople,” said Redd. He said Kennedy went hitless.

Kennedy played first base in the tripleheader. Smith playedsecond base and left field in the second game. She played secondbase in the opener and the finale.

Emily VanLandingham of North Pike played right-center field forthe South. She was 4-for-9 in the tripleheader.

Courtney Gordon of New Hope hit a 3-run homer in North’s loss inthe first game. The South erased the 3-0 deficit to win theopener.