Thursday, May 4, 2006
County athletes sign with community
By BARRY BURLESON
Kristie Owens inked her name on a scholarship and into the Byhalia High School history book Thursday morning.
Owens became the first athlete ever from the school to sign a softball scholarship. She will play for the East Mississippi Community College Lady Lions next season.
“She’s one of the best team leaders I’ve ever had (in any sport),” said coach Gaylon Jones. “She is like having a coach on the field.
“I have only coached her a short time, but she will really be missed, not only for her athletic abilities but for her leadership abilities, and her team play as well.”
Owens got an early start on the diamond. From ages 5 to 14, she played baseball for the Byhalia Sports Association. She is the only girl to make the baseball all-star team. From ages 14 to 17, she played softball for the BSA.
Owens began her Byhalia High School softball career as a seventh grader on the slow-pitch team, then in her eighth grade year the school switched to fast-pitch.
She has a .534 career batting average at BHS.
Owens, the daughter of Burt and Tassie Skelton of Red Banks and Mike Owens of Victoria, is fifth in her senior class with a 3.7 grade point average. She is a member of the National Honor Society and Beta Club secretary.
Rob Criddle, head coach at East Mississippi in Scooba, said he saw Owens at a Delta State University softball camp during the summer.
“I really like the way she plays the game,” Criddle said. “We’re building a program at East Mississippi, and we’re excited about Kristie (Owens) joining us.”
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