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Victory haircut for coach

RIDGELAND – Call it shear perfection or a victory clip. As LoydStar’s players gathered inside the pitching circle late Saturdaymorning, they laughed and clapped with glee.

“We don’t want to wait. Let’s do it now!” proclaimed Loyd Starcatcher Haley Sones. Loyd Star assistant coach Janet Taylor grinnedpatiently as Sones clipped about 5 inches off the end of her longbrown hair. It fulfilled a promise made in early February.

“It was about the first game of the season and I told (Taylor) Iwanted to cut her hair,” said Sones. “She said, “OK, when we winstate.”

A scissors was quickly produced. Players laughed and giggled asSones clipped Taylor’s mane.

Thirty-three games later, Taylor made good on her promise.

“I couldn’t let Haley down,” said Taylor, smiling. “She waslooking forward to it.”

Each player received a championship medallion after the game.Coaches Jan Delaughter of Loyd Star and Jason Cobb of Hamilton werepresented with a large cluster of medallions, with red, white andblue ribbons attached. Players from both teams lined up along thefirst and third base lines and the coaches made thepresentations.

“I’m overwhelmed with joy,” said Loyd Star senior third basemanBrittany Beeson, tears streaking her dusty face. “Six years of workpaid off.”

Beeson and Delaughter shared a private moment during an extendedembrace after the game, exchanging compliments.

“I’ll miss Coach Jan very much,” said Beeson. “This is my lastgame here. It’s a good way to leave.”

Beeson, a Copiah-Lincoln Community College scholarship signee,was the shortest player on the field at 5-foot-1. She had 2 of herteam’s hits in the title game, plus a sacrifice bunt.

Beeson said it was an historic season to remember forever. “Itwas a team effort. We were consistent and we were confident.”

By contrast, Hamilton fans seated behind the first base dugoutvoiced their displeasure after the game. They challenged closecalls made by the umpires and bemoaned their team’s fate.

Coach Cobb asked his team to gather for a team picture with therunner-up trophy after the game. Many of his players still wereweeping after the medal presentation.

“I don’t want to be in a picture with a second place trophy,”wailed a Hamilton player.

Cobb patiently explained the importance of making it to thestate championship game. He insisted on a team picture and hisplayers eventually cooperated.

Second place still was something to be proud of, too.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O. BOX551, Brookhaven, MS 39602, or e-mail sports@dailyleader.com