Lady Cougars looking to join elite club
By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
May 3, 2002
As it should be.
The 2002 Class 3A fast-pitch softball state championship will belong to one of the two schools that has dominated the sport at that level over the last three years.
Newton County, 34-5, takes on Amory, 28-3, for the 3A state title Saturday at the V.A. Fields in Jackson. All three games, if needed, will be played Saturday with the first contest to start at 11 a.m.
While this is the first year for 3A to be a separate classification in fast-pitch, Amory is the defending 1A/2A/3A state champion with Newton County winning the 2000 state crown.
Both have breezed through this year's playoffs. Newton County has swept Morton (15-1, 14-2), West Marion (19-2, 6-0), and Richland (8-2, 15-1). Amory has swept Senatobia (11-1, 4-0), New Albany (3-1, 4-0), and Kossuth (5-2, 11-3).
A Newton County series win would double the number of schools that have won both slow-pitch and fast-pitch state titles in the same school year. New Albany (1998 slow-pitch, 1999 fast-pitch) is currently the lone member of that club.
The Lady Cougars won the 2001 slow-pitch championship, ironically over Amory.
Amory hasn't forgotten last October's two-game sweep in the slow-pitch state finals.
The two met for the 1999 slow-pitch state title with Amory winning 2-1 and again in the 2000 Meridian Community College slow-pitch tournament semifinals with Amory again winning by a run.
In fast-pitch, Mapp leads the Lady Cougars with a .505 batting average. She also has six doubles, two triples, and five home runs. Other leading hitters are junior shortstop Kristin Chaney (.446, 2 3B), sophomore pitcher/designated hitter Joy Cavenaugh (.364, 3 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR), senior first baseman Betsy Clark (.355, 6 2B), junior left fielder Holly Jackson (.342), and senior right fielder Krissi Harris (.310, 2 2B, 2 3B). Other starters include sophomore catcher Jennifer Smith and junior center fielder Shelly Ferguson.
Cavenaugh is 12-1 on the mound with 46 strikeouts in 62.1 innings. Junior Lauren Barrett is 10-1 with 45 whiffs in 63 innings. Suzanne Chaney (5-0) and Harris (7-3) are the other top pitchers.
Amory turns its pitching over to Stacy McCommon (13-1) and Keri McFarling (13-2).
McFarling (.500) and McCommon (.453) are the top hitters along with left fielder Alicia Capps (.392), Tera Ratliff (.366), and Jennifer Swan.