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Benson selected MVP on BHS slowpitch team

Junior outfielder Christen Benson was namedMost Valuable Player on Brookhaven’s 2011 slowpitch softball teamduring Thursday night’s awards banquet, which was held inthe  Southway BaptistChurch Family Life Center. Benson batted .448 and slugged 11 homeruns as the Lady Panthers advanced to the Class 5A stateplayoffs.

    Ole Brook head coach Chad Walker thanked the school’sadministration and athletic department for their support during theseason. He also commended the BHS Booster Club for their generosityand hard work in making the campaign a success.

    Walker thanked assistant coaches Mandy Vinson and Megan Bateman fortheir contributions during the 19-10 season that saw the LadyPanthers finish runners-up to  Wayne County in the region race. Hecomplimented the booster club for helping purchase a pitchingmachine to improve his team’s batting skills.

    “We started the season fast,” said Walker. “We shut out LawrenceCounty twice. Then we beat Bogue Chitto and Franklin County.”

    Walker’s team also defeated South Jones before losing a pair ofclose games to region champion Wayne County, 8-5 and 7-6.

    “After we lost to Wayne County, we knew we had our backs to thewall,” said Walker. “We had to win the rest of our district gamesto make the state playoffs.”

    They responded with sweeps of region foes McComb, West Jones andPearl.

    BHS accomplished that feat but lost to eventual state runner-upPicayune in the playoffs. “We had a very good season,” said Walker.”We lose three seniors, so there’s no doubt in my mind that we canmake the championship game next year if we continue to workhard.”

    Walker said his team had the highest grade point average in theathletic department, led by Scholastic Award winner Brooke Hosickto has a 95.8 average in the classroom. “It was a great experiencecoaching these girls They are outstanding students, too. Youparents have done a good job raising them.”

    Walker presented the Coach’s Award to Shelby Case and ShelbyPeavey, two players who worked hard and stayed after practice totake BP.

    The Hustle Award went to Taylor Murray and Katie Grace Culpepper.Catcher Catherine Shell was named Rookie of the Year.

    The Most Improved Award went to Rashana Stewart. Hosick wasrecognized as Outstanding Pitcher.

    Senior shortstop Erica Bridwell was named  Best Defensive Player. Emily Freeman,who sported a .494 batting average, was named Best OffensivePlayer.

    All-District medals went to Hosick, Bridwell, Benson, Freeman andStewart. Each team member received medals, miniature wooden batsand autographed sweatshirts to commemorate their successfulseason.