Wallace directs North Pike to state championship finalsl

Published 5:00 am Monday, May 18, 2009

SUMMIT — Sonya Wallace started the fastpitch program at NorthPike in 2000 and has enjoyed much success. Wallace has an overallrecord of 148 wins and 91 losses.

Her most successful season arrived in 2009. She directed theLady Jaguars to the Class 3A State Championship Series and theywere runners-up to Nettleton.

“We’ve had a lot of good players to work with,” said Wallace, a1987 Bogue Chitto graduate. She played softball at MississippiCollege for four years where she majored in mathematics.

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This year the Lady Jaguars finished 24-9 in the Class 3A statechampionship series. They went through five rounds of playoffgames. They swept four playoff opponents before running intoNettleton.

The Lady Jaguars lost in extra innings to Nettleton in the firstgame. “Our youth and inexperience were evident,” said Wallace.

North Pike won Division 7-3A, losing only one division game andthat was to Columbia.

Wallace only had one senior starter this year in centerfielderHali Sasser. She has signed a scholarship with Southwest CommunityCollege.

North Pike’s pitching staff should be in great shape. Returningnext season will be freshman Brianna Brister (14-5) and juniorKelsey Lord (9-4) at pitcher.

Freshman Summer Brown returns at catcher. Shelby Abdul-Hadi atfirst base, seventh grader Lauren Wells at second base, freshman,Alana Hopkins at shortstop, eighth grader at Rachel Kelly at thirdbase, freshman Makayla Smith in left field, Sasser in center,eighth grader Savannah Johnston in right field complete the list ofyoung, talented returnees.

“They are a good group to work with,” said Wallace. “They playgood defense. They do what you ask them to do.”

Wallace emphasized the importance of summer league fastpitch. “Alot of our girls play during the summer on tournament teams,” saidWallace. Others play on league teams.

“Our administration has been very supportive,” said Wallace whenasked about support. “North Pike is a good system to be in.”

Chris Smith works with Wallace as an assistant coach. “He’s avery important part of our team. He does a good job.”

In her spare time, Wallace enjoys hunting and fishing. “I enjoythe outdoors.”

“I told these girls before the season started that I expectedbig things out of them. I knew if they played well, we could go along ways.”

Wallace said the skill level of fastpitch has steadily improved.”Pitching has really improved. Coaches are working with the youngergirls in the summer.”

In 2010, the Lady Jaguars will be a year older, wiser andstronger.