South team has definite local flavor
By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
July 6, 2001
If you're from this part of the state, the South team is where your loyalty should lie in the 15th-annual Coca-Cola All-Star Slow-Pitch Softball Games Saturday at Raymond.
Of the 16 players on the South roster, seven are from area schools. None of the 16 girls on the North roster represent area schools.
The teams will play a best-of-three series beginning at 1 p.m. at Raymond High School.
Area members of the South team are outfielders Brooke Gabriel and Deanna Harris from Class 5A state runner-up Meridian, pitcher Brandie Landrum from Class 3A state champion West Lauderdale, second baseman Jennie Battle and shortstop Rhonda Munn from Class 2A state champion Philadelphia, outfielder April Bufkin from Class 3A state runner-up Newton County, and shortstop Monique Horner from Southeast Lauderdale.
Landrum was 37-4 on the mound for the Lady Knights last season as they captured the 3A state title with a 40-4 record.
"Brandie had a great year for us," West coach Jerry Boatner said. "She was our leading pitcher and she batted .595 with 14 doubles, nine triples, 13 home runs, and 63 RBIs. She had four homers at the Final Four over at Brandon.
"The thing about Brandie is that she can fly. She's just a little skinny girl, but she has a lot of pop (in her bat) and she'll take an extra base on you in a hurry."
Battle and Munn are both five-year starters for Philadelphia. They capped their careers with the 2A state crown and set a school record for wins in a season in going 32-10 in 2000. Of the 10 losses, four were to West Lauderdale and two were to Newton County.
Both have signed fast-pitch scholarships with East Central Community College. Both were also selected to the Class 2A all-state tournament team.
"They were our No. 1 and No. 2 hitters this year," Philadelphia coach Scott Hill said. "They were the sparkplugs for our team. They're both natural leaders, not just by word, but by action."
Gabriel and Harris both played big roles in the outfield as Meridian went 31-9 and reached the 5A state championship game where the Lady Wildcats came up short against Moss Point.
Bufkin had a fine year in the outfield and at the plate as the Lady Cougars of Newton County went 31-10 and reached the Class 3A state championship game only to fall to West Lauderdale. She has also inked with East Central for fast-pitch where she will be a pitcher.
If records of such things were kept, Horner would probably hold the national mark for most intentional walks during her career at Southeast which had the misfortune of competing in the same division with West Lauderdale and Newton County.
Also on the South team are pitchers Kacie Barker from St. John and Brandy Hamilton from North Pike, outfielders Jerrica Boutwell from Lawrence County, Emily Carver from Poplarville, Christy Fairley from George County, shortstop Daphne Lampkin from Harrison Central, second baseman Chellie McCardle from Petal, third baseman Lauren Reeder from Mercy Cross, and utility infielder Juliana Wallace from Brookhaven.
Fairley is one of Mississippi's all-time best track sprinters, while Carver batted a sizzling .618 in 2000 for Poplarville.
South coaches are Patsy Sandifer of Lawrence County and Carlton Wise of Mercy Cross. Wise will be seeing his final prep softball action in Mississippi in Saturday's games as he's heading to Salem, Ore., to teach at Blanbhet High School. In 10 years with the Lady Crusaders, his teams won two state championships (1992 and 2000), won four division titles, made eight state playoff appearances, and posted 10 straight winning seasons. His decade had a 155-65 overall record.
"This is slow-pitch softball, so it should be a hitter's game," Wise said. "But listening to the coaches on our selection committee, we have some great outfielders who can cover some ground with their speed so it may not be as high-scoring as you might think."
Members of the North team are outfielders Crystal Bender of Aberdeen, Audrey Clayton of Myrtle, Crystal Hughes of Columbus, Allison Reeder of Kossuth, and Mary Leigh Tisdale of Aberdeen; first basemen Kati Fleming of New Hope and Chassidy Hadley of Smithville; third baseman Ashlee Frazier of North Pontotoc; rover Carrie Hill of Houston; shortstops Kaylora Bingham of Pearl, Brandi Isaac of Hatley, Brooke Lenderman of Smithville, Jessica Malone of Grenada, and Janey Walker of Senatobia; and pitchers Melanie Creekmore of Amory and Jill McDonald of Houlka.
North coaches are Mike Montgomery of Grenada and Robert Gordon of Myrtle.