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Co-Lin’s bats increase power offensive

WESSON — Momentum, confidence and team chemistry.

The Copiah-Lincoln Community College Lady Wolves have a lot ofthings going for them as they begin play in the NJCAA Division IINational Softball Tournament in Normal, Ill. They boast exceptionalpitching and a new-found power in their bats.

Co-Lin sophomore Ashley Sykes of Brookhaven hit two home runsduring the Region 23 Tournament. She has a team-best .385 battingaverage, too.

“The homers picked a good time,” said Sykes, recalling thebase-clearing clouts. “My dad wanted me to hit a home run forhim.”

Her father, Frankie Sykes, wasn’t present for the regional. Heis an oil rig supervisor on a water-based platform off the coast ofAfrica.”

Sykes said she was looking forward to the national tourney whichbegins today. The Lady Wolves (33-8) play at 2 p.m.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing,” said Sykes. “I’mlooking forward to it.”

According to Sykes, she could see championship potential in herteam when preseason practice began in early January. “It was amatter of us coming together. We all get along very well. I knew wehad potential.”

Teammate and right-fielder Emily Langley hit 2 homers in thestate tournament. She bats left-handed and owns a .374 battingaverage. The Brookhaven Academy graduate has stolen 9 bases in 9attempts and has 27 RBIs.

“I’ve been seeing the ball better,” said Langley. “I’m moreselective on my pitches.”

Co-Lin’s climb to the national tournament was a majoraccomplishment. Langley said the team’s success level surprisedsome people.

“We’ve done more than anybody expected us to be,” said Langley.”We have grown as a team. We are on a winning streak and we are theteam to beat right now.”

In 2006, Coach Allen Kent’s Lady Wolves advanced to thenationals and placed third. South Division rival Gulf Coastfinished third last year.

Co-Lin third baseman Meleah Brown is one of four players withBogue Chitto roots seeing plenty of action this season. The othersare freshmen outfielders Devon Welch, Chelsey Miller and CandaceAvants.

“A third of our starting lineup is from Bogue Chitto,” saidBrown, who bats .315. She also pitches and has compiled a 4-1record.

“Our strong defense and team chemistry are very good,” saidBrown. “We have more depth in our lineup. We have a chance to winit all.”

Sophomore Kayla Crochet is Co-Lin’s leading home run hitter with7. Her .382 batting average is second highest on the squad.

Rebecca Rousseau (.347), Miller (.333), Becca Bailey (.323) andWelch (.321) are other leading hitters.