Co-Lin signs softball trio

Published 6:00 am Friday, January 18, 2008

Copiah-Lincoln Community College women’s softball coach AllenKent was all smiles Tuesday. He had signed three Lincoln Countystandouts to softball scholarships: pitcher Terri Hodges andcatcher Katie Stewart of Brookhaven, and third baseman Holli Smithof West Lincoln.

“We are happy to have them joining the Lady Wolves,” said Kent.”They are outstanding players and individuals who will make strongcontributions to our softball program.”

Hodges, a 5-foot-3 athlete, recently was named Miss Softball andMVP on The DAILY LEADER’s All-Area Slowpitch Softball Team. Lastspring she was recognized as Most Valuable Defensive Player on TheDL’s All-Area Fastpitch Team. She is the daughter of Dewayne andSue Hodges.

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As a junior, Hodges fashioned a 17-9 pitching record infastpitch. She led the Lady Panthers to a runners-up finish in theDivision 6-4A race and a berth in the state playoffs.

“I’m excited to sign with Co-Lin and I’m ready to get started,”said Hodges. She is planning a career in secondary education andcoaching.

Kent said Hodges can play either shortstop or pitcher. “Terrishould be an asset on offense and defense. She is a real competitorwho handles the bat well and has good speed on the bases.”

According to Kent, Hodges has made dramatic improvement on themound. “She has added an array of pitches and has made significantimprovement. She has good movement on her pitches and she is ableto locate and change speeds.

“She has a pretty good game face and rarely shows emotion, whichis a good trait for a pitcher.”

Versatility is another asset that Kent noted. “Terri is such agood all-around athlete and she’s very coachable. She played otherpositions in summer travel ball. This should help her even morethis season at BHS and beyond.”

Stewart, 5-7, batted .418 as a junior catcher for BHS coach GregWalker. She was named the team’s Scholastic Award winner and BestOffensive Player. She also was named to the DL’s All-Area FastpitchTeam. She played first base on the summer travel team. She is thedaughter of Tommy and Jennifer Stewart.

Stewart said she plans a career in either kinesology or sportsmedicine. She and Hodges plan to be roommates at Co-Lin.

“I’ll play wherever Coach Kent wants me to play.”

Kent said Stewart has improved her arm strength which will helpher become more effective working behind the plate. “Katie hasshortened her pop-time from home to second, keeping manybase-stealing threats at bay.

“She has really improved the last couple of years, attendingvarious camps and clinics. She wants to learn and absorb everythingyou throw at her.

“Hopefully, she will continue to gain knowledge about callingpitches and what to look for in assessing hitters’ weaknesses.”

Walker said the two senior members of his BHS squad would becounted upon heavily this season. The Lady Panthers’ first game isFeb. 16, in the Brandon Classic.

“Terri and Katie are both very vital pieces of our team,” saidWalker. “They are team players who put themselves second. They areleaders for us. Co-Lin will benefit from their presence on theteam.”

Smith, 5-6, has been an infield anchor for West Lincoln’s LadyBears since fastpitch started 5 years ago. As a junior, she batted.452 with 18 RBIs and was named to the DL’s All-Area FastpitchTeam. She also was recognized as the Most Valuable Defensive Playeron the DL’s 2007 All-Area Slowpitch Team.

She is the daughter of Mitchell and Cindy Smith.

“I don’t care where I’ll play; I’m ready to play softball forCo-Lin,” said Smith. She said she is considering a career ineducation, teaching English and coaching.

“We are excited to have Holli join our program,” said CoachKent. “She has a very good glove and can play several positions.She also has a strong, accurate arm and swings the bat well. She’sa singles hitter.”

Kent said Smith benefited from the summer travel teamexperience. “She faced tougher competition every game and thatextra experience further sharpened her skills.”

West Lincoln coach Andrew Redd said Co-Lin was getting a qualityplayer. “Holli will be a great asset for them. She has been avaluable player for us and I wish her the best of luck atCo-Lin.”

Asked about other signees, Kent said he plans to sign shortstopDaniele Wilson of Metairie, La. and infielder Dee Dee Walker ofLawrence County. Wilson attends Archbishop Chapelle HighSchool.

Kent’s Lady Wolves make their 2008 debut Feb. 15.