Meridian Star

Sports

May 21, 2014

Newton County pitcher awarded PopStar Fastpitch Award

DECATUR — DECATUR — Fresh off a MHSAA Class 4A state championship, Newton County High School pitcher Darby Bishop Jr. finally has a chance to reflect on the season.

And one of the biggest personal accomplishments for Bishop was being given the PopStar Fastpitch Award by the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi.

The PopStar Award is given to recognize the top athlete in each of the MHSAA’s 22 sanctioned sports, and Darby was one of three finalists. She received the award May 14 at the hall of fame in Jackson.

“I was very shocked (when it was announced),” Bishop said. “I didn’t think I would get it, but at the same time, I was happy. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates’ and coaches’ support.”

The accolades are well-deserved: Bishop hasn’t lost a game in two seasons, pitching to a 44-0 over that time span. She credited the hard work she puts in for her success, even when she doesn’t necessarily feel like doing softball activities.

“I do softball year round,” she said. “I work on it every day and practice all the time. I do get tired of it sometimes, because I don’t ever get a break, but I always know it’s going to pay off.”

Bishop also credited others for her success on the mound these past two years.

“My daddy (Randy Bishop) taught me a whole lot,” Bishop said. “He was the first person to helped me learn to pitch. Also, the coaches on my high school team are a big help.”

Seven pitches make up Bishops arsenal, but she said she has little trouble throwing each pitch.

“I have a fastball, changeup, curve, drop curve, screwball, slow drop and a dropball,” she said. “I have the same grip for all my pitches except my changeup, so it’s not hard. I just have to change a few steps in my windup.”

Though she’s one of three pitchers on Newton County’s staff, Bishop was the go-to girl on the mound for the Lady Cougars come postseason play. Usually pitching every other day, Bishop threw all of Newton County’s playoff games, she said. Despite the workload, she said she feels little pressure carrying the staff.

“I’m relaxed, because I know I have a good defense behind me,” Bishop said.

A rising senior, Bishop said she’s already thought ahead about next spring and the possibility of defending their 2014 state title.

“I’m kind of nervous, because I haven’t lost a game in two years, so it puts pressure on me going into the season,” she said. “We lost two seniors who were a big part of our team, but I think we have a good chance of repeating.”

Bishop is also the daughter of Shea Bishop.

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