Bogue Chitto trio to Co-Lin

Published 6:00 am Thursday, January 18, 2007

BOGUE CHITTO — Known as the Bogue Chitto Trio, Candace Avants,Devon Welch and Chelsey Miller have signed fastpitch softballscholarships with the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Lady Wolves.The scholarship-signing ceremony took place Tuesday in BC’sweightlifting room, located in the school’s new athletic fieldhouse.

“These girls have the potential to become everyday players forus,” said Co-Lin head softball coach Allen Kent. “It is a testamentto the type of athletes they have at Bogue Chitto.”

The Lady ‘Cats have become annual state title contenders underthe leadership of Coach Scott Leggett. They finished 20-9 lastspring and won the Division 7-1A title.

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Kent’s Lady Wolves captured the state/regional championshipslast spring and advanced to the NJCAA Division II NationalTournament in Normal, Ill., where they finished third. Welch,Miller and Avants are the first signees this year.

Kent credited their participation in summer fastpitch softballas an instrument for improving their skills. They all played forSouthern Ice, a select team composed of Co-Lin and area high schoolplayers.

“One common denominator here is playing summer fastpitch and notslowpitch,” Kent pointed out. “They all made significantimprovements this past summer by working on their games and facingabove-average competition. This takes dedication from the girls, aswell as their families.”

Avants, a 5-foot-5 catcher, batted .380 for the Lady ‘Cats lastyear. She had 17 RBIs.

“Candace showed drastic improvement last summer playing travelball with Southern Ice,” said Kent. “She became a very good slapperand drag bunter, as well as just swinging away from the left side.Those things, combined with her speed, make her a very toughout.”

Kent said Avants could play catcher and other positions atCo-Lin. “Candace has improved her defensive skills. Her receiving,framing, blocking and throwing all showed marked improvement. Shereally wants to learn and does a great job of absorbinginstruction.”

Avants, the daughter of David and Tiffany Avants, said she waslooking forward to playing for Co-Lin. “They have a very goodprogram up there.”

Welch, a 5-3 shortstop, batted .386 last season for Coach ScottLeggett’s Lady ‘Cats and collected 16 RBIs. She plans to pursue acareer in X-ray technology.

“I’m excited about going to Co-Lin,” said Welch.

She is the daughter of Ricky and Paula Welch.

“Devon has good speed and quick hands,” said Kent. “She wasBogue Chitto’s leading hitter last year. She is working on someadjustments at the plate which will make her a better hitter in ourleague.

“She played several positions in the outfield and the infieldfor Southern Ice,” Kent noted.

Miller, a 5-6 right-hander, was selected The DAILY LEADER’s MostValuable Player on the 2006 All-Area Slowpitch Softball Team. Shealso excels in fastpitch and basketball.

As a junior, Miller batted .273, accounting for 13 RBIs. She isthe daughter of Timmy and Darlene Miller.

“I feel good about Co-Lin,” said Miller. “I’m ready to play forthem right now.”

She plans to major in forensic science. Her future dormitoryroommate is Avants.

“Chelsey is an outfielder with above-average speed,” said Kent.”She began working from the left side of the plate last summer withSouthern Ice and showed flashes of good potential.

“Chelsey’s speed makes her a difficult out,” Kent noted. “Shecan cover a lot of ground in the outfield and has a sureglove.”

Leggett said he was happy to have the trio with him for one morehigh school season. “I’m proud of these three. They have done agreat job for us the last three years.

“I’ll sure miss them when they graduate. I’ve been coaching themfor three years. I know they’ll do well at Co-Lin.”

The BC Trio will follow all-star pitcher and former teammateMeleah Brown to Co-Lin. Outfielder Candace Braxton is another BCgrad on Co-Lin’s squad.