Sykes plans softball future with Co-Lin

Published 6:00 am Friday, January 20, 2006

Brookhaven’s Ashley Sykes, recognized for her many skills on thesoftball diamond, will continue her athletic career atCopiah-Lincoln Community College. On a cold, rainy Tuesday, Sykessigned a softball scholarship with the Co-Lin Lady Wolves.

Sykes, a 5-foot-7 Ole Brook senior, smiled brightly as shesigned the scholarship papers in the BHS conference room. Presentwere her parents, Frankie and Tina Sykes; Ole Brook softball coachLisa Covington and Co-Lin softball coach Allen Kent.

“I’m looking forward to playing for Co-Lin,” said Sykes. Herolder brother, Justin, played baseball at Co-Lin beforetransferring to Ole Miss.

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At BHS, Sykes has starred in slowpitch as well as fastpitch forCoach Covington. She has been a 6-year member of the varsitysquad.

Sykes joins former BHS stars Megan Bateman and Allison Wallaceon the Co-Lin squad. She plans to major in teaching and coaching ,with a minor in special education.

“Ashley is so versatile, she can play anywhere,” said CoachKent. “She will be a good fit for our program and should have animmediate impact.

“Ashley has a solid glove, a great arm and she handles the batwell,” Kent continued. “She has the desire to learn andimprove.”

Sykes played on a select fastpitch team last summer. Kent was incharge of the talented squad.

“Ashley has played summer fastpitch the last few years and ithas really helped her,” Kent pointed out. “We have enjoyed gettingto know her during recruiting and at our summer camps. She is avery likable person.”

In fastpitch, Sykes worked mainly as a pitcher for the LadyPanthers, fashioning a 12-10 record. She batted .338, collecting 4home runs and 3 doubles.

Recognized as 2004 Overall Most Valuable Player on The DAILYLEADER’s All-Area Slowpitch Team, Sykes was named Most ValuableDefensive Player in 2005. She batted .598.

Sykes bats and throws right-handed. She said her immediatesoftball goal is to become a switch-hitter.

Her parents are 1979 BHS graduates. Both played sports atBHS.

“Ashley has been an outstanding player for us in slowpitch andfastpitch,” said Covington. “She’s an impact player. She makesthings happen. She is a very good shortstop and has a lot ofrange.”

Covington said Sykes would be dearly missed after the springfastpitch season. “You hate to lose a player like Ashley. She’s acoach’s dream.”

Covington’s Lady Panthers make their 2005 fastpitch debut Feb.18, in the Loyd Star Classic.

Kent has made the Lady Wolves state title contenders in hisfirst three years at the helm, leading them to a 74-24 record andnational ranking. He said he plans to sign high school seniorsEmily Langley of Brookhaven Academy, Meleah Brown of Bogue Chittoand Britnee Smith of West Lincoln in the near future.