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franklin county times

Laird steals fast-pitch show

By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
June 30, 2002
RAYMOND Ever since returning to Mississippi two years ago from Houston, Texas, Emily Laird has felt right at home on the pitcher's mound.
That remained the case Saturday afternoon as she tossed the South to a 4-0 one-hit shutout in the second game of a doubleheader in the first Mississippi Association of Coaches Fast-Pitch All-Star Games. The North won the opener 3-2 at Rene' T. Warren Field.
Laird, a 2002 graduate of South Jones, struck out 10 and had a no-hitter until Casey Colvin of New Hope singled to lead off the top of the fifth inning. Laird did not issue a walk, something she didn't do for the entire spring season. At the same time, she struck out 318 batters in 143 innings and had a 0.00 ERA. For her last two years, she had 537 strikeouts.
Laird struck out five of the last 10 batters she faced.
The South got all of its runs in the top of the second inning with five walks leading to the big inning. The key hit was a three-run single by third baseman Suzi Grubbs of Pascagoula. Laird also received a bases-loaded walk in the frame to put the South up 1-0.
The South finished with four hits with no player having more than one.
Stacie Creel of Clinton took the loss, lasting only 1.2 innings after walking four out of five batters in the big second inning.
In the first game, the North scored once in the second inning and twice in the fourth to take a 3-2 win in the first all-star contest for fast-pitch.
Maggie McEwen of Southaven singled and scored on a two-out double by Madison Central's Katherine Sinele in the second inning.
McEwen doubled in the fourth and scored on a single by Elisabeth Eads of Grenada. Stacy McCommon of Amory made it 3-0 when she doubled and came home on a single by Sinele, who was the winning pitcher as well.
Sinele, who earned MVP honors for the North, struck out four and allowed five hits in going the distance.
The South got its first run in the top of the fifth when Amy Lofties reached on a fielder's choice and scored on a wild pitch.
The South added its second run in the top of the seventh as Sissy Waldrup of South Jones singled and scored on a single by Ashley Mathis of Enterprise. Mathis went 2-for-2 in the opener.
Laird came on in relief of South starter Dawn Harrison of Harrison Central and struck out six batters in two innings while allowing one hit.
The mound was set at junior college regulation (43 feet), not high school (40 feet).
McEwen and Sinele both had two hits for the North with Sinele also getting a pair of RBIs. Mathis was the lone multiple hitter for the South, going 2-for-2.
Laird, the South MVP, is going to Ole Miss but she will not play softball. She will be on an academic scholarship as a National Merit semifinalist.

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