Burks signs with Lady Wolves

Published 5:00 am Thursday, August 10, 2006

It’s a dream come true for Loyd Star pitcher Caroline Burks.Tuesday in Loyd Star’s library, Burks signed a fastpitch softballscholarship with Copiah-Lincoln Community College, giving her atleast two more years of competition, plus a college education.

“I’m excited about playing for Co-Lin,” said Burks, a 5-foot-3hurler. “Co-Lin has a really good program.”

In 2005, Burks was recognized as The DAILY LEADER’s DefensivePlayer of the Year on the All-Area Fastpitch Softball Team. She wason maternity leave last season and gave birth to a son,Matthew.

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This summer Burks pitched for Southern Ice, a collection ofCo-Lin incoming freshmen and sophomore softball standouts. The teamwas runner-up in a recent national tournament.

“Playing this summer for Southern Ice got me back in shape,”said Burks, the daughter of Jana and Buster Burks. Her youngersister is a member of Loyd Star’s fastpitch team which is coachedby Jan Delaughter.

Burks said she plans to pursue a career in nursing atCo-Lin.

“I think Caroline will be a great asset for Co-Lin,” saidDelaughter. “She worked hard this summer.”

Co-Lin head softball coach Allen Kent has watched Burks play forSouthern Ice for two summers. He has been impressed by herperformance.

“Caroline really worked hard and earned a spot on the roster,”said Kent. “She adds strength to our pitching staff. Caroline is asmart pitcher and she hits her spots well with pretty goodmovement.

“While she doesn’t throw as hard as some of the pitchers in ourleague, she is effective.”

Burks has five pitches; fastball, changeup, rise, curve andscrewball.

Kent said he was impressed by Burks’ attitude and determinationto pitch on the college level. “She was out there pitching twoweeks after her baby was born.”

Kent’s squad will have four pitchers on staff in 2007, a luxurythe Lady Wolves haven’t had before. “It not only gives us depth butit provides us with some relief options as well.”

In 2006, Kent’s Lady Wolves (39-9) realized their greatestseason. They won state and regional championships. They finishedthird in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in Normal,Ill.

According to Kent, this year’s signing class “is one of the bestwe’ve ever had. They’re very athletic and they’re all infielders.They can play a variety of positions.”

Signed earlier by Kent were pitcher/infielder Ashley Sykes ofBrookhaven, pitcher Meleah Brown of Bogue Chitto, infielder BritneeSmith of West Lincoln, outfielder/first baseman Emily Langley ofBrookhaven Academy and pitcher Kayla Crochet of Baton Rouge.