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Makenzie Smith leads All-Area Fastpitch Dream Team

DAILY LEADER / MARTY ALBRIGHT / Loyd Star's sophomore pitcher is The DAILY LEADER's All-Area Fastpitch Softball MVP.

DAILY LEADER / MARTY ALBRIGHT / Loyd Star’s sophomore pitcher is The DAILY LEADER’s All-Area Fastpitch Softball MVP.

The Loyd Star Lady Hornets experienced a magical 2015 season when they returned to the MHSAA Fastpitch Softball State Championship for the first season in six years since winning the Class 2A crown in 2009.

The Lady Hornets battled the current three-time defending state champion, East Webster, in three close and thrilling games. Loyd Star won Game One 3-2 Friday, but lost two heartbreakers 3-1 and 4-3.

Loyd Star’s sophomore ace, Makenzie Smith, left it all on the field as she pitched all three games in the championship finals. Smith struck out 10 batters and allowed only three walks in her first appearance in the State Championship at Freedom Ridge Park.

For her performance over the season, Smith has been selected the Most Valuable Player on The DAILY LEADER’s 2015 All-Area Fastpitch Softball Team.

Loyd Star coach Jan Delaughter said Smith is a great pitcher. “McKenzie has improved tremendously over the past year. It was all due to her self motivation and off season workout ethics.”

Joining Makenzie Smith on the All-Area Dream Team are pitchers Christian Black of Bogue Chitto, Katherine Shell of Brookhaven and Elizabeth Smith of Lawrence County.

Playing at catcher are Anna Smith of Brookhaven Academy, Alexsundria Thomas of Lawrence County, Mallory Allen of Bogue Chitto and Jana Nations of Enterprise.

The All-Area infield is directed by Ali Gartman of Loyd Star, Jamie Martin of Lawrence County, Katie Grace Culpepper of Brookhaven, Carley Polk of Enterprise, Kayla Britt of Wesson and Terrah Nelson of Bogue Chitto.

The Dream Team’s flex players are Morgan Walker of Brookhaven Academy, Makennah Redd of West Lincoln, Carrie McSweyn of Wesson, Kinsey Dahlin of Enterprise and Morgan Norton of Loyd Star.

The Dream Team’s extra players selection is Olivia Thornton of Brookhaven Academy, Alana Nettles of Bogue Chitto, Malori Hall of West Lincoln, Tia Bussey of Brookhaven and Carlee Nations of Enterprise.

The outfielders are Julie Smith of Loyd Star, Zariah Matthews of Bogue Chitto, Micah Redd of West Lincoln, Amber Brinson of Wesson, Brianna Fauver of West Lincoln and Callie Fortenberry of Lawrence County.

Makenzie Smith, a sophomore right-hander, proved that hard work and determination does pay off. Smith stated that after her freshman year, she was not satisfied with her performance. She decided to work extra hard everyday during the off-season to improve her pitching techniques and skills before starting the 2015 season.

Smith started off the softball season a little late due to playing basketball, but quickly managed to find her rhythm.

Smith, 17, directed the Lady Hornets on the rubber with a 20-5 pitching record and finished the season with an impressive 0.93 ERA. In her pitching stats, she had 93 strikeouts and gave up only 32 walks in 150 innings pitched. Smith also compiled 10 shut out victories on the season.

Offensively, she earned a .205 batting average, while collecting 12 RBIs, two doubles, two triples and two home runs. Defensively, she frustrates opposing teams with her .904 fielding percentage.

Smith shared her thought on being selected as The DAILY LEADER’s All-Area Fastpitch MVP. “I am honored and proud of myself,” said Smith. “All of my hard work is paying off.”

Smith, the daughter of Greg and Jeanie Smith, confidently shares her plans for next season. “I will continue to work hard both offensively and defensively during the off season to get stronger and better, because I want to win state.”

Smith shared her thoughts on Loyd Star’s season and her coach Jan Delaughter.

“We had a great season overall,” said Smith. “Everybody worked hard to grow stronger as a team and it showed during the game. Hopefully next year, we will be even better.

“I don’t know what I would do without Coach Delaughter,” continued Smith. “She pushes me to do my very best and I would not be where I am at now without her.”

Christian Black, a junior, compiled a 6-5 record for Bogue Chitto with 89 strikeouts and 31 walks in 64 innings pitched. At the plate, she batted .397 on the season with 20 RBIs, six doubles and one home run.

Katherine Shell,  a junior, posted an 15-4 record for Brookhaven with 81 strikeouts and 38 walks in 108 innings pitched. As a batter, she had a .382 average on the season with five doubles and three home runs.

Elizabeth Smith,  a junior, provided the Lawrence County Lady Cougars with a 15-5 worksheet. On the rubber, she had 75 strikeouts and 39 walks in 108 innings pitched on the season. At the plate, she had an .422 batting average with 22 singles, five doubles and had 25 RBIs.

Anna Smith,  a senior, was the defensive leader behind the plate for Brookhaven Academy with .989 fielding percentage. Offensively, she batted a .418 on the season and was a threat on the bases harvesting 34 out of 35 stolen bases.

Alexsundria Thomas,  a junior, had a .444 batting average for the Lawrence County Lady Cougars. She collected 24 RBIs on 38 hits with 24 singles, seven double, four triples and one home run.

Mallory Allen, a senior, showed off her leadership skills at catcher with .974 fielding percentage. At the plate, she batted .385 on the season for the Lady Cats.

Jana Nations, a freshman, batted .438 for the Enterprise Lady Yellow Jackets. Behind the plate, she posted a .909 fielding percentage.

Ali Gartman,  a junior, had an .424 average at the plate for Loyd Star with 10 doubles, eight homeruns, one triple and 30 RBIs.

Jamie Martin, a senior, is a talented athlete. She batted an .416 at the plate for Lawrence County with 23 singles, 10 doubles, three triples, one home run and 21 RBIs.

Katie Grace Culpepper,  a senior, helped guide the Lady Panthers through a great season. Offensively, she batted a .342 at the plate.

Carley Polk,  a freshman, helped her Lady Jackets on the season with a .365 batting average.

 Kayla Britt,  a senior, showed off her talents and provided leadership for the Wesson Lady Cobras. She posted a .206 batting average. Defensively, she had a .938 fielding percentage.

Terrah Nelson, a junior, batted .353 for the Bogue Chitto Lady Cats. Defensively, she posted a .864 fielding percentage.

Morgan Walker,  a senior, batted .425 for BA Lady Cougars.

Makennah Redd,  a sophomore, anchored West Lincoln’s defense as catcher, while batting a .361 at the plate.

Carrie McSweyn,  a freshman, played a big part in the field as pitcher with 47 strikeouts and 29 walks in 86 innings pitched for Wesson. Offensively, she compiled a .400 batting average for the Lady Cobras.

Kinsey Dahlin,  a junior, had .311 batting average for the Lady Jackets.

Megan Norton,  a junior, played multiple positions on defense for the Lady Hornets. Offensively, she earned a .296 batting average.

Olivia Thornton,  a senior, earned a .309 batting average for Brookhaven Academy.

Alana Nettles,  a junior, brings a lot of talent to the Lady Cats. She batted a .351 on the season with 27 RBIs. Defensively, she had a .907 fielding percentage. In pitching, Nettles struck out 58 batters and gave up only 17 walks in 75 innings pitched.

Malori Hall,  a senior, had a great season as she batted .391 for the West Lincoln Lady Bears with 17 RBIs, three triple, two doubles and one home run.

Tia Bussey,  a sophomore, is a speedy slap hitter for the Lady Panthers. She batted .290 on the season.

Carlee Nations,  a freshman, batted a .312 at the plate for the Lady Jackets. Defensively, she had a .827 fielding percentage.

Julie Smith,  a junior, flexed her muscles for the Lady Hornets and compiled a .348 batting average. In the outfield, she posted a .944 fielding percentage

Zariah Matthews,  a junior, showed off her blazing speed both offensively and defensively for the Bogue Chitto Lady Cats. She earned a .400 batting average at the plate and posted an amazing 1.000 at the Lady Cats outfielder.

Micah Redd,  a senior, provided a strong arm for West Lincoln as a pitcher and an outfielder. She compiled a 8-4 record and averaged a .420 at the plate.

Amber Brinson,  a freshmen, had a great season as an outfielder for the Lady Cobras with .900 fielding percentage. Offensively, she had a .400 batting average.

Brianna Fauver,  a senior, provided great leadership both offensively and defensively for the Lady Bears. Offensively, she earned a .382 batting average. Defensively, she had an .895 fielding percentage.

Callie Fortenberry,  a sophomore, had a great season on the Lawrence County Lady Cougars softball team. She batted a .385 on the season and had a .892 fielding percentage.