Thursday, May 21, 2009
Garrison signs with Meridian
By BARRY BURLESON
Jessica Garrison grew up playing softball with the Byhalia Sports Association. Last week she signed a scholarship with Meridian Community College.
“I remember begging her mother to let her play (at a young age),” said Janice Wagg, president of the BSA. “She developed a passion for it, and she’s been a great ball player since she was a little girl.”
Mae Garrison, Jessica’s mom, said she was then working part-time at the grocery store in Byhalia when Wagg came walking in with a BSA application.
“Janice said, ‘I just need your signature,’” Mae recalled.
“Jessica has come a long way since then, and I’m very proud of her.”
The Byhalia High School senior has started on the varsity softball team since the ninth grade, and was named to the all-district squad all four of those years. This past season she was selected the team’s most valuable player, according to head coach Summer Pannell.
Her positions have included catcher, third base and first base.
Robert Eakins, head coach at Meridian Community College, said Garrison was invited for a tryout and he was impressed with her abilities and work ethic.
“She came in and worked hard, and those are the type of kids we’re looking for,” said Eakins, who has coached at MCC 16 years.
He said the Lady Eagles had a “down year” this past season, and he’s after kids who love the game.
“We want to rebuild the program around kids who will work hard, and we like that about her,” Eakins said.
“We know she wants to be here and she will fit in well here. We know she will put in the extra time to be successful, plus she will represent the school in a positive manner.”
Wagg said through Garrison’s years with the BSA, she was frequently named to the all-star team and at least one season she was selected to the all-tournament team at the World Series. Garrison is now helping coach one of the younger softball teams in the BSA.
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