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Copiah Academy duo put team in spotlight

Copiah Academy is nestled in the serene, rural countryside of Gallman but the Lady Colonels are making big-time noise across the Magnolia State with their softball program. Two of the most celebrated contributors are pitchers Kaitlyn Taylor and Jordan Jones.

They are recognized as Defensive Players of the Year on the Daily Leader’s All-Area Fastpitch Softball Team, along with pitcher Rheagan Welch of Bogue Chitto. Taylor and Jones helped lead the Lady Colonels to a 35-7 record and the MAIS Class AAA State Championship, giving them a successful title defense.

“Kaitlyn and Jordan are both exceptional players,” said Copiah Academy coach Terry Bauer. “Overall, I have really been blessed with some outstanding girls. They play hard and they play together as a team.”

Taylor, a 5-foot-5 rising senior, pitched a no-hitter in the state title game. On the season, she posted an 18-2 record and an impressive 1.57 ERA. She accumulated 103 strikeouts and 46 walks in 107 innings. She tossed 6 shutouts and only allowed 40 runs.

She bats and throws right-handed. She also plays third base when she’s not in the circle.

“My screwball is my strikeout pitch,” said Taylor. She throws a 63-mph fastball. She has a drop curve, a changeup and several more deliveries in her bag.

“Our team jelled together,” said Taylor. “We were all close. Coach Bauer is a great coach.” She uses a Louisville Xeno bat; 33 inches long and 23 ounces in weight.

She said South State AAA champion Parklane Academy was the toughest team they played last season. “Their pitching was good and they got the hits when they needed them.”

Taylor said her favorite college team is Mississippi State. MSU All-America centerfielder Hunter Renfroe is from Crystal Springs and used to give her a ride to school.

An honor roll student, Taylor wears jersey No. 12. She said her favorite subject is math. She wants to become a physical therapist.

 Jordan Jones,  a 5-5 rising junior, bats left and throws right. She batted .455 this season and accounted for 47 RBIs. She had 23 extra-base hits and 4 home runs as a leadoff batter. She plays outfield when she isn’t pitching.

“Jordan has speed and she can slap the ball,” said Coach Bauer. “She’s a very smart pitcher, too.”

Jordan compiled a 13-3 record in the circle. She had a 1.76 ERA with 66 strikeouts and 33 walks in 83 innings. She had 5 shutouts.

“I like the screwball best,” said Jones. She also throws a changeup, curve, drop and riseball.

“My dad (Kevin Jones) works with me a lot,” she noted. “Coach Bauer is a cool coach. He knows his stuff.”

Jones and Taylor, along with CA sophomore Kelly Byrd, play on a select team known as the Mississippi Elite 97. They are in a tournament this weekend at Chattanooga, Tenn. They played in Alabama the previous weekend.

Asked to describe Taylor, Jones said, “Kaitlyn is a hard worker and she has a cool personality. She stays in high gear.”

Taylor returned the compliment. “Jordan is very, very uplifting to other people. She’s very positive and she’s a great athlete.

Wearing jersey No. 9, Jones uses a CF5 Demarini 33-inch bat, which weighs 23 ounces. She also runs track in the spring. She set a new MAIS state record in the triple jump with a leap of 35-10.75. She was second in the long jump.

Asked about her favorite college softball team, Jordan said she likes Texas and Tennessee.