All-Star softball players report

Published 5:00 am Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star Softball Gamestake center stage this weekend and four Lincoln County girls areparticipating. Kelli Howard of Bogue Chitto and Julie Case of WestLincoln are representing their schools in the Class 1A/2A/3Aslowpitch games that will be played Friday at Newton County HighSchool in Decatur, starting at 5:30 p.m. Sabrina DeLaughter willrepresent Brookhaven in the Class 4A/5A slowpitch games that willbe played tomorrow night, starting at 8.

On Saturday, Loyd Star catcher Haley Sones will play for theSouth Class 1A/2A/3A fastpitch squad, also at Newton County. Theall-star teams reported today.

Julie Case, West Lincoln’s valedictorian, helped lead the LadyBears to a runners-up finish in last fall’s Class 1A statechampionship series. She has been busy taking batting practice inpreparation for the contest and had blisters on her hands asevidence.

West Lincoln coach Andrew Redd said Case has worked hard toimprove her softball skills. “Julie has always been a consistenthitter. She always got the clutch hits for us.”

Case batted .430 for the Lady Bears who were state 1Arunners-up. A talented pianist, she earned All-Lincoln Countyhonors in softball and basketball.

“She was a leadoff batter and did a good job getting on base,”Redd noted. “She had an outstanding work ethic, too. She was alwaysworking to get better.”

Class 1A/2A/3A action starts tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. Coaching theSouth are Loretta Bond of St. Patrick and Mark Fannin of St.Andrew’s.

Howard has had a busy summer playing for Southern Ice, a travelteam coached by Copiah-Lincoln Community College sophomores. She’sbeen playing first base and outfield for Southern Ice, which justreturned from a showcase tournament in Beaumont, Texas.

“Kelli can play just about anywhere,” said Bogue Chitto coachScott Leggett. “I’ve used her everywhere but catcher.”

Howard batted .406 and had 33 RBIs in slowpitch, earning MissSoftball and MVP honors on The DAILY LEADER’s 2008 All-AreaSlowpitch Team. She played shortstop in slowpitch and was astandout pitcher this spring in fastpitch, signing a scholarshipwith Co-Lin.

An all-around athlete, the 5-foot-10 Howard excelled inbasketball as a center, earning All-Lincoln County honors. She wasselected Most Valuable Offensive Player on the DL’s All-AreaFastpitch Team.

DeLaughter’s father was killed last Saturday in a tragicshooting. The funeral was held Wednesday.

DeLaughter starred in left field for the Lady Panthers lastseason. She was recognized as Most Valuable Offensive Player on TheDL’s 2008 All-Area Slowpitch Team. She also played the infieldduring her varsity career. She played first base in fastpitch.

She is the third of four sisters to play slowpitch softball forBHS coach Lisa Covington. She batted .513 last fall.

“Sabrina is dedicated,” said Covington. “I can always count onher to give 110 percent, no matter what. She was always the firstone on the field and the last one off.”

Covington said DeLaughter is outstanding on offense and defense.”She’s a good fielder with a good glove. She was able to hit to allfields.”

DeLaughter will attend Co-Lin this fall.

Coaching the South 4A/5A team are Karen Arnold of Petal andAmanda Buck of Vancleave. Action starts at 8 p.m.

Sones, a 6-foot senior, could have played either softball orbasketball on scholarship at Co-Lin but the all-state catcher chosesoftball. She also played the drum in Loyd Star’s band and will dothe same at Co-Lin. She wore No. 13 in basketball and softball.

She is playing for Southern Ice this summer.

Sones batted .348 her senior year, hitting 3 home runs. She had21 RBIs, 8 doubles and 5 triples as the Lady Hornets posted a31-1-1 record, winning their first-ever Class 2A fastpitch statechampionship.

She was recognized as the Most Valuable Defensive Player on theDL’s All-Area Fastpitch Team. She also earned All-County honors inbasketball.

Loyd Star coach Jan Delaughter said Sones is an exceptionalcatcher who has been working behind the plate for 6 years. “Haleyis very dedicated. She started for me in the seventh grade. She dida great job for us.”

Coaching the South 1A/2A/3A South fastpitch team are ScottFitzgerald of Columbia and Justin Chaney of Newton County. Actionstarts Saturday at 10 a.m.

All-Star notes: Halli Sasser of North Pike will play for the1A/2A/3A South slowpitch team. In the 23rd annual slowpitch series,the North holds a 2-0-1 margin in 1A/2A/3A and 4A/5A since theformat was changed in 2006. The North won all 4 games in 2008.

In fastpitch, the South leads 2-1 in the smaller division and2-0-1 in 4A/5A.