Thursday, October 2, 2008
• Championships can often be traced to strong senior leadership.
Such is the case with the Marshall Academy fast-pitch softball team, which celebrated back-to-back state titles Saturday afternoon in Ridgeland (near Jackson) at Freedom Ridge Park.
Seniors Lauren Alexander, Traci Rodgers and Heather Tomlinson had perhaps the biggest smiles among all the Lady Patriots.
“This is very exciting,” Alexander said as the players awaited their individual medals.
“We did it,” Rodgers added.
“We made history once again,” said Tomlinson, referring to Marshall Academy’s first-ever state crown in fast-pitch softball last year and then a repeat championship this year for the school.
The fast-pitch program was started at MA just six years ago, in 2002.
• The sportsmanship and friendliness between the Marshall Academy and Indianola Academy girls was the best I’ve ever seen between two rival schools competing fiercely for a state championship.
During the games (they played in the semi-finals and finals) the girls and the fans from the two schools were very complimentary of the efforts of both the Lady Patriots and the Lady Colonels. Most of the girls even knew each other on a first-name basis.
The players from both MA and IA hugged after the presentation of the trophies. Then they gathered for a huge group photo – players from both teams with trophies and huge smiles. And they alternated for the group shot - red jersey (Marshall), blue jersey (Indianola), red jersey, blue jersey.
I heard one Lady Colonel say, “If we’re going to lose to someone, we we would want it to be to you.”
• Marshall Academy supporters – parents, grandparents and others – were wearing red shirts in support of their favorite team.
And that support, no doubt, gave the Lady Patriots a big boost as they walked away with the top trophy for the second straight year.
• The South Reporter crew (myself and photographer Ronnie Day) hit a snag prior to the 11 a.m. semi-final contest Saturday.
The umpires told Ronnie he could not be inside the fence.
I immediately went in search of tournament director David Drake. I was nice. He was nice. But I was not happy.
He explained how an unfortunate incident somewhere (not in Mississippi) had forced MPSA officials to tighten “sideline” regulations.
I explained how we had driven three hours to cover the Lady Patriots, and we needed to be able to give our team the publicity it deserved. At last year’s state tournament, there was no problem.
He stood his ground. I obliged, but I was upset.
We found Ronnie a spot inside a fenced area next to the field where they stored the tarpaulin they roll on the field in case of rain. He climbed on top of the tarp. It turned out to be a great spot for photos from a different angle.
But later, after we noticed a lady shooting photos from just inside the fence and by the dugout on the Indianola side, David came back to me and said, “I think we’ve got something worked out.”
A few minutes later he told me Ronnie could stand in the same spot (as the Indianola photographer) on the Marshall side and stay sort of behind the Lady Patriot coaches (Susan Rodgers and Carlton Gibson), who were sitting on buckets.
A special “thank you” goes to David for his assistance in getting the problem solved.
And I would urge the MPSA and the Mississippi High School Activities Association and others to keep in mind that we (journalists) have a job to do and most of us want to do it to the best of our ability and also be cooperative.
It’s all about the young people who are playing the game.
That’s why Ronnie and I made the trip Saturday, and we’re so glad we did. Congrats, Lady Pats!
News: (662) 252-4261 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions, comments, corrections: email@example.com
©2004, The South Reporter, All Rights Reserved.
No part of this site may be reproduced in any way without permission.
The South Reporter is a member of the Mississippi Press Association.
Site managed and maintained by
South Reporter webmasters Linda Jones, Kristian Jones
Web Site Design - The South Reporter
Back | Top of Page