Meridian Star


October 21, 2012

Young Newton County ready to rebound

JACKSON — Justin Chaney doesn’t want to sound like a sandbagger, but he admittedly had his doubts about how far his 2012 Newton County slow-pitch softball team could go after the Cougars lost half their lineup from last year’s 35-0 team.

    At the same time, not many people expected the Cougars to win 32 games and reach an eighth straight state championship series. But they did, falling 2-1 in a best-of-three series to Corinth Saturday in the MHSAA Class 4A state championship series at Freedom Ridge Park.

    “I told the girls all good things,” Chaney said Saturday. “Hey, we went 32-3 playing in central Mississippi in what we call softball heaven.

    “Yes, I’m disappointed that we didn’t win. I don’t like to lose and neither do these girls. But as a whole, you have to look back and be extremely proud of this season.”

    Five seniors graduated from Newton County’s 2011 state championship team – including the team’s top four hitters in the lineup and all of them either four-or-five-year starters.

    But the five starters who returned – Shea Alexander, Ashton Lampton, Meagan Higginbotham, Darby Bishop and Savannah Gates – were joined by a host of Cougars in 2012 who were chomping at the bit to get in the lineup.

    “A lot of our girls who stepped in this year could have started for most anybody last year,” Chaney said. “And that’s what you want. You want to try to build a program and have kids ready to step in; ready to step up when it’s their turn.

    “And that’s what this group did. They said ‘Coach, it’s my turn’ and those five or six had a tremendous year.”

    Juniors RoNeisha Brown and Mary Snowden and sophomore Latesia Davis played big roles after contributing heavily in 2011, while junior catcher Hannah May and sophomore outfielder Shelby Barrett had strong finishes to 2012, as well. Juniors Ashley Gressett and Lindsey Savell and freshmen Cassidy Blount, Shaylon Farmer and Triniere Walker all saw heavy action this season.

    “We played a lot of people and juggled a lot of folks early,” Chaney said. “And again, some of them probably could have started for a lot of other teams.

    “Hey, this is a great team and I’m proud of them. But you also have to sit back and look at the fact that we only had one senior on this team,” he said.     “Softball at Newton County is in pretty good shape for while.”

    All 10 Cougars who started Saturday were underclassmen; and all of them have had some role in the past three Newton County slow-pitch teams which have gone 94-10 and won two state championships – including a run of 68 straight wins which spanned parts of all three seasons.

    “Corinth had a lot of seniors on that field, but we had a lot of experience,” Chaney said. “We had girls out there who have won an awful lot of ball games and that makes a difference. They know what we expect of them in the program and they work hard and they expect to win.”

Text Only
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter

Local Sports