Co-Lin providing action-packed menu

Published 5:00 am Friday, May 5, 2006

Fastpitch softball fans are in for a treat. They can catch theMACJC State Tournament this weekend at Copiah-Lincoln CommunityCollege. Six teams from across Mississippi, led by South Divisionchampion Co-Lin, are entered in the double-eliminationtournament.

Co-Lin head softball coach Allen Kent and assistant JohnnyWilliams have been working overtime in preparation for thetournament. Extra bleachers have been trucked in. The grill hasbeen set up for cooking hamburgers.

Action begins Friday at 10 a.m. Four games will be played in theopening round, including two by Co-Lin, the host team. Ironically,the bracket gives an opening round bye to the division champions,with the exception of the host team. Go figure.

Certainly, Co-Lin must be considered a favorite. The Lady Wolves(31-7) are enjoying their best-ever season. They rely on pitching,defense and base-stealing.

It’s also known as Small Ball. Co-Lin only has one home run thisseason. By comparison, last year’s team slugged 18.

Obviously, Coach Kent will take wins over home runs, any day.Sunday afternoon, the Lady Wolves hope to be playing for the statechampionship.

Kent, 42, a Brookhaven native, has forged a strong program atCo-Lin. This is the fourth straight year for the Lady Wolves toreach the state tournament.

Fastpitch softball is growing in popularity at area high schoolsand this certainly helps the Co-Lin program. More girls areabandoning the melon toss (a.k.a. slowpitch) in favor of thefast-paced variety.

For sure, fastpitch requires stronger batting, running, fieldingand pitching skills. In many aspects, it’s comparable tobaseball.

Parents, if you have visions of your daughter earning anathletic scholarship, put them in a fastpitch program this summer.Fastpitch is like baseball. The more you play, the better youbecome.

Congratulations to Coach Alan Taylor and his Brookhaven Academytennis team. The Cougars and Lady Cougars both won Class AA statechampionships Wednesday at Parham Bridges Tennis Center in Jackson.They were led by Anna C. Moak and Jerrod Rayborn in No. 1 girls andboys singles respectively.

Tennis is a hot item in Brookhaven and Lincoln County. The OleBrook tennis team also has dominated its Division 6-4A opponents,winning 45 straight matches. Coached by David Misner, the Pantherswill participate in the Class 4A State Tournament at the RidgelandTennis Center next Monday and Tuesday.

This is a busy time of the year for high school athletics. Statetournaments are on tap this week and next. The MHSAA State TrackMeets are scheduled for Pearl High School’s sparkling new facility.The Ole Brook tracksters, coached by Pat Hardy and Rod Henderson,will compete Friday. Hardy’s Lady Panthers won the Division 6-4Atitle at McComb a few weeks ago.

Lawrence County hosts the Petal Panthers Saturday at 1 p.m. inthe opening game of the South State 4A championship. Coached byCory Keyes, the Cougars (29-4) are enjoying a banner campaign. Thisshould be a great best-of-three series, featuring two of the topteams in the state.

The Brookhaven Country Club will host the MHSAA Class 4A StateGolf Tournament next Wednesday and Thursday. Sixteen teams fromacross the Magnolia State are expected to be represented, includingNo. 1 Terry and No. 2 Brookhaven out of Division 6-4A.

According to Ole Brook golf coach Steve Huey, the BrookhavenCountry Club is a popular place to play. The BCC hosted the statetournament in 2003 and 2004, drawing accolades from high schoolcoaches.

Ronny Ross, BCC’s PGA professional and general manager, oftengoes the extra mile to make visitors feel welcome. He takes goodcare of the players, providing plenty of water and food during thegrueling, 2-day event.

Coaches, players and parents sincerely appreciate Ross’sdedication to details, plus his hospitality.

The high school athletic banquet parade begins in earnest nextweek. Enterprise will honor athletes in all sports next Fridaynight. The event will be held at the Thames Center on theCopiah-Lincoln Community College campus.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O.BOX 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mailsports@dailyleader.com