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BHS honors slowpitch softball players

Daily Leader / Lucy Shell / Receiving awards at the Brookhaven High School annual slowpitch awards banquet were (front, from left) Dameda Rancifer, Panther Award; Katherine Shell, Most Valuable Player, Scholar Award, Team Captain, "B" blanket, All-District; Fallon Brooks, Honorable Mention All-District, Haley Speaks, Team Captain, All-District; (back row) Kat Wallace, Hustle Award, All-District; Jada Henderson, Most Valuable Offensive Player Award, All-District; Cheyenne Motley, Most Improved, Honorable Mention All-District; Macy Ziskin, Most Valuable Infield Defensive Player, All-District; Tia Bussey, Most Valuable Outfield Defensive Player, All-District.

Daily Leader / Lucy Shell / Receiving awards at the Brookhaven High School annual slowpitch awards banquet were (front, from left) Dameda Rancifer, Panther Award; Katherine Shell, Most Valuable Player, Scholar Award, Team Captain, “B” blanket, All-District; Fallon Brooks, Honorable Mention All-District, Haley Speaks, Team Captain, All-District; (back row) Kat Wallace, Hustle Award, All-District; Jada Henderson, Most Valuable Offensive Player Award, All-District; Cheyenne Motley, Most Improved, Honorable Mention All-District; Macy Ziskin, Most Valuable Infield Defensive Player, All-District; Tia Bussey, Most Valuable Outfield Defensive Player, All-District.

The Brookhaven Lady Panthers gathered for their annual Slow Pitch Awards banquet Wednesday at the FEMA building and a number of awards were presented to the team.

After a dinner served buffet style, BHS head Coach Mandy Vinson announced from the podium how thankful she was to the parents “for letting us work with your girls every day. They worked extremely hard and we are very proud of them.”

She also acknowledged and thanked the Softball Boosters Club and its leaders which include: President Matt Shell, Vice President Rhonda Bussey, Treasurer Dawn Fuller, Concessions Team Leaders Sarah Foster, Geri Miller and Allison Wallace. Vinson also thanked Athletic Director Tommy Clopton “for supporting us and our program.”

She also thanked her staff which includes: Megan Case, Erica Bridwell and Allison Smith.

“We are blessed to have them coach here at Brookhaven. They are all Brookhaven High softball program alumni and have a passion and love for the program. I think it says a lot when the coaching staff is alumni of the high school. The former players are invested in our program and it shows by people willing to come back and coach within the program.”

After a quick overview of the season, Vinson then recognized the members of the Lady Panther softball team.

Each member of the team was given a red Nike hat with “Ole Brook” embroidered on them. Those receiving the caps were: seventh graders, Tamiya Cooper, Ce’Aira Henderson, Gracie Hudnall; eighth graders, Lydia Butler, Sharquita Cook, Jashunna Finley, Meg Foster, Kyla Henderson, Madi Miller; freshmen, Kat Wallace; sophomores, Rileigh Allen, Jadeyn Fuller, Maddie Thompson, and Madison Thompson; Juniors, Tia Bussey, Jada Henderson, Cheyenne Motley, and Macy Ziskin; and seniors, Reagan Atterberry, Fallon Brooks, Dameda Rancifer, Katherine Shell and Haley Speaks.

All the seniors were also presented with a gift.

“We have enjoyed coaching you all this year and we will miss each one of you,” Vinson said.

Vinson then announced the All-District awards. The recipients were: Tia Bussey, Jada Henderson, Katherine Shell, Haley Speaks, Kat Wallace, and Macy Ziskin. There were also two starters who receive Honorable Mention All-District. They are Fallon Brooks and Cheyenne Motley.

Named as Team Captains this year were Katherine Shell and Haley Speaks.

Vinson explained how the BHS softball awards were given out this year.

“At the end of the season, we let the team vote on the awards. These girls work with each other every day. Each one sees the hard work the other puts in day in and day out to get better. We think it’s important for the girls to have some ownership in the program.”

The Hustle Award:  “The Hustle Award went to a player that gave 110 percent every time she got on the field,” Vinson said. The award was presented to Kat Wallace.

Most Improved:  “The Most Improved Award was presented to a player who always works hard at whatever position we put her at and her teammates saw that. She was willing to play whatever position we needed her at because it was what was best for the team,” said Vinson. Most Improved was given to Cheyenne Motley.

Most Valuable Defensive Player:  “Both players made the defensive game fun to watch this year,” Vinson said. The Most Valuable Outfield player went to Tia Bussey and the Most Valuable Infield player was Macy Ziskin.

“The Most Valuable Offensive Player hit .538 and hit seven home runs this year, most of which were back-to-back-to-back in the playoffs. The Most Valuable Offensive Player Award went to Jada Henderson,” Vinson said.

The MVP and Scholar Award: “Our Most Valuable Player is also our Scholar Athlete with a 94.49 GPA. We moved her to first base and she saved us and made us look good multiple times. She hit .646 and had 18 home runs this year. She was selected to play in the Mississippi North/South All Star game in Newton County where she went 6-7 with four doubles,” said Vinson. The Most Valuable Player and Scholar Award was presented to Katherine Shell. Shell also received a “B” blanket for playing four years of varsity softball.

The last award given out was the Panther Award.  “It is the only award the coaches vote on. The award to us isn’t about ability, but about the love for the game,” said Vinson. “She was full of spirit for the Lady Panther softball team and was our biggest cheerleader. Therefore, the Panther Award went to Dameda Rancifer.”