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Lady Cats chasing 1A softball crown

High school seniors like to savor the moment before theygraduate and enter the real world. In Bogue Chitto’s case, theseniors graduate tonight in R.L. “Bob” Calhoun Gymnasium but BC’sfastpitch softball team has another goal on their horizon.

Four juniors lead Bogue Chitto’s Lady Cats to the Class 1A StateChampionship finals that begin Friday at Freedom Ridge Park inRidgeland. The quartet of pitcher Toy Smith, shortstop JosiePorter, catcher Darcy Miller and second baseman Bradi Davis directthe seniorless team’s quest for state title trophy gold.

They were relaxed and oozed confidence Wednesday afternoonduring an interview before a sweat-soaked 3 p.m. practice sessiongot under way. The Cats were fresh/weary from a long bus ride toSebastopol Tuesday where they clinched the South State 1A title,sweeping the best-of-three series.

What exactly is the reason for Bogue Chitto’s success on thesoftball diamond?

Miller’s blue eyes sparkled with conviction when she replied.”We have faith in God.”

Miller and her teammates are under the direction of ahusband/wife team of Scott and Denise Leggett. To put it mildly,they have been extremely successful. The Leggetts have won 105games and lost 52 in six years at the helm. Their team was Southstate runner-up to East Webster the last two years.

Smith, a hard-throwing, right-hander owns an arsenal of pitches.She can throw the riseball, curveball, drop, changeup andinside/outside fastball.

Smith’s teammates excel on defense and that boosts herconfidence. “I feel like I don’t have to strike out everybodybecause my team’s defense is good and they can hit, too.”

Porter showcases her skills on defense and offense as sheanchors BC’s infield. She said her team’s approach to each game isa key to their success.

“We play as a team and we keep a good attitude, even whensomebody messes up. Pros make mistakes, too.”

Despite their youth, the Cats were expected to be division titlecontenders. The winning tradition is strong at BC.

“I was a little surprised with our team,” said Porter. “We havea lot of young players but they have really stepped up.”

Davis, the team’s leadoff batter, is famous for her slap hits.She usually gets on base.

“I love leading off,” said Davis. “My goal is to get on base. Iknow the batters behind me will get some hits and drive mehome.”

Miller calls most of the pitches from behind the plate. Aversatile athlete, she excels in basketball, too. She was named MVPand Miss Basketball on The DAILY LEADER’s All-Lincoln CountyTeam.

“Our pitchers are looking good,” said Miller. “Toy hits herspots real well. She can bring it (fastball) right down the middle,too. Her changeup is very good.”

Freshman Rheagan Welch pitched Tuesday’s win at Sebastopol.Miller said, “Rheagan is wild at times but she steps up and getsthe job done.”

All three of Welch’s playoff victories have been on the road.Her riseball is probably her best pitch.

Asked about their favorite game thus far this season, the girlsagreed the series sweep of region rival Natchez Cathedral wassweet. “Cathedral thought they real good and they could beatus.”

After a close win at Natchez, BC shut out Cathedral in Game Two.In other words, don’t make the Cats angry.

Next up is the State Championship showdown with Smithville, theNorth champion. Action begins Friday at Freedom Park in Ridgeland,starting at 6 p.m. Game Two of the best-of-thee series will beSaturday morning at 10. A third game, if necessary, would follow 30minutes after the conclusion of Game Two.

This is the sixth year for Bogue Chitto to have a fastpitch teamand their first time in the state finals. They have been regularparticipants in the slowpitch title games, winning it all two yearsago.

Terry (Hoot) Gibson, a former Brookhaven resident and a 1981 BHSgraduate, has two talented children who have achieved great thingsin track and field. Erin Gibson, a 5-foot-7 junior at Our Lady ofVictory in Bay St. Louis, recently won Class 4A state titles in the100, 200 and 400-meter dashes and anchored the 4×400 relay team’svictory.

Erin also was a member of OLA’s state champion soccer andvolleyball teams.

Erin’s younger brother, Josh, is a sophomore at St. Stanislaus,the all boys school just across the street from OLA. He won thestate pole vault title.

Terry and wife, Suzanne, are residents of Pass Christian. Theyhave been remodeling her deceased parents’ house. Terry’s parents,David and Christine Gibson, are Brookhaven residents living in theAuburn community.

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