Thursday, June 12, 2008
Owens signs with Lady Choctaws
By BARRY BURLESON
Byhalia’s Kristie Owens is taking her softball skills to the next level.
Owens, who played at East Mississippi Community College the past two years, has signed a scholarship with the Mississippi College Lady Choctaws in Clinton.
“I look forward to continuing my education and continuing to play softball,” Owens said. “It’s a good Christian college. I visited and felt at home down there.”
Two years ago she became the first athlete ever from Byhalia High School to sign a softball scholarship. And she proceeded to do well at East Mississippi. She was a two-year starter in center field for the Lady Lions and shined in the classroom, too.
“Kristie was a great kid on the field, but she has also been nominated for Academic All-American,” said coach Kate Neely, who is moving up from assistant to head coach at East Mississippi. “That was one way she was able to go to Mississippi College – because of her grades.”
Owens had a .402 batting average and stole 21 bases for the Lady Lions.
“She has a lot of speed, and she really hustles,” Coach Neely said. “She’s not a power hitter but she’s a good base-hitter.
“We’re going to miss her. She will be hard to replace. She will be able to go to Mississippi College and contribute.”
From ages 5 to 14, Owens played baseball in the Byhalia Sports Association. She is the only girl to make the all-star baseball team. From ages 14 to 17, she played softball in the BSA.
She 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.
Owens recently assisted with the summer softball camp at East Mississippi. She is also umpiring games this summer for the Byhalia Sports Association.
She is the daughter of Burt and Tassie Skelton of Red Banks and Mike Owens of Victoria.
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