Bogue Chitto’s Dynamic Duo: Avants, Givens go for weekend

Published 8:00 pm Friday, June 7, 2013

Bogue Chitto’s Dynamic Duo of Mattie Avants and Alexis Givens have several things in common. They both are in Saturday’s Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star Fastpitch Softball weekend, representing their school in the Class 1A-2A-3A series.

Avants and Givens are members of a young Bogue Chitto team that reached the South State 1A championship series against Nanih Waiya. The Lady Cats lost a pair of heart-breakers to the eventual state champions by narrow margins, falling 1-0 and 3-1.

Both juniors agreed that Nanih Waiya was the toughest team they faced this season. Neighboring North Pike also received special recognition. They have been varsity teams members since eighth grade, helping the Lady Cats win a pair of state championships.

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“Both Mattie and Alexis are great ballplayers,” said BC coach Scott Leggett. “They have been starters since the eighth grade.”

Alexis Givens, a 5-foot-5 first baseman, batted .337 this season and drove in 20 runs. She is a 4-year starter at first base.

“There’s a lot of action at first base,” said Givens. “You have to catch a lot of throws.”

She bats right-handed and throws left. She said she has improved in all aspects of her game.

Asked about the season, Givens said, “We were a strong team, as usual. We have good players and a lot of support.”

She wears jersey No. 10 in honor of former Atlanta Braves star Chipper Jones.

Asked about her teammate, Avants said, “Alexis is a hard worker and she will put a lot of effort into getting better. She’s a great athlete.”

Leggett said, “Givens has a great glove and a good bat, too.”

Mattie Avants, a 5-6 shortstop, throws right and bats left. She is BC’s leadoff batter and an adept slapper. Her explosive speed usually beats a fielder’s throw to first base.

Avants said playing shortstop is a mental and physical challenge. She made the switch from center field to the infield last season.

“Your head always has to be in the game,” said Avants. “I love batting left-handed.”

To become a good slapper, Avants said, “You have to be aggressive and get a jump on the ball.”

Givens complimented her teammate. “Mattie is quick and her mental attitude is sound. She’s a great athlete.”

Avants will play in the MAC All-Star Basketball Game at Mississippi College in Clinton next month. BC’s Christi Terrell will coach the South team.

Avants led the Lady Cats in batting this season with a .417 batting average. She stole 18 bases.

“Mattie is a great athlete,” said Coach Leggett. “She’s quick and aggressive and she has speed.”

He said Avants was an offensive force as a leadoff batter. “She’s our weapon as a slapper.”

The youngest in a family of athletes, Avants has an older sister, Candace, who played softball at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Her older brother, Seth, was a 4-year starter at quarterback for the Bobcats and played baseball at Co-Lin. Her brother, Zach, was a pitcher for the Bobcats and graduated two weeks ago.