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Lady Hawks honored at softball banquet

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Evening also focuses on team's future

By The Staff

The Lady Hawks softball team held its annual banquet Tuesday night to recognize the 43 players. Although the theme was to reflect on the past season, it was also a night to remind the underclassman that preparations for the 2009-10 season begins now.

The banquet began with the recognition of the five seniors. Unfortunately, they could not hold the traditional senior night on the softball field, as the last home game was rained out.

Tori Banks, Christian Cox, Corri Jones, Megan Mauldin and Allie Perkins were honored with a plaque presented by head coach Mielle DiStefano. DiStefano thanked each senior “for their dedication and commitment to the Lady Hawks.”  The senior parents were recognized as well and a special thank you went out to them for their support of their daughters.

DiStefano wished the seniors the best of luck in what they pursue in this next chapter in life as they head to college. 

“Each one of you will be a success in life, don’t let anyone get in your way of your dreams,” she said.

Freshman head coach Amanda Hayes presented participation certificates to the 23 members of the freshman team. This team showed great improvement throughout the season. 

“At this level, wins and losses is not everything, it’s how much you gain as a player, and the fundamentals you pick up and utilize that makes the team a success,” Hayes said.

From the first game, to the last game, this group improved by leaps and bounds. Hayes encouraged them to stay with the sport, attend camps, and do everything they can to get better in the off-season.

Junior varsity coach Junior DiStefano presented participation certificates to those who played JV. He praised the team for their no quit attitude, and the enthusiasm they showed in every game. 

“You girls showed a love for the game, and it showed every night,” he said. “You never got down and fought to the end of each game.”

He told them that this is the attitude they need to bring to the next level in 2010.

Coach Mielle DiStefano presented the varsity team with the letterman certificates and recognized the leaders in the statistical areas. Senior and Murray State signee Christian Cox led the way in the following categories: most hits, doubles, RBI’s, stolen bases, slugging percentage, on base percentage and batting average. Cox is the last member of the 2005 state tournament team, second team All-State and a member of the West All-stars.

“That is the way you want to end your senior year, with a lot of accomplishments,” DiStefano said. “She’s been a solid player for us for six years and will be missed.”

Several Lady Hawks were also recognized for the season as statistical leaders:  Megan Mauldin - most runs scored and most assists; and  Valerie Whitlock - most runs scored and most put outs. In the Golden Glove category, the following received awards: Amelia Miller, Valerie Whitlock and Courtney Johnson.  Pitching awards went to Brittany Enlow for most strikeouts and Amelia Miller for lowest ERA. 

Two players, Emily Boone and Cassady Crim, shared the most improved award this season, as they grew as ballplayers for the team.

“These two young ladies play with their hearts on their sleeves, and give it all they had, all the time,” DiStefano said. “I am very excited about the progress these two made this season.” 

Each year a special award is given called the Lady Hawk Award.  This award represents a player who shows a love for the game, gives it their all in practice and games, will stay extra after practice and other players respect them. They always put what’s best for the team first. This year there were three recipients who deserved this honor: Ellen Huff, Lyndsay Whitlock and Megan Smith.

Coach DiStefano then followed the awards with “thank you’s” for their help and support for the season to Walter Owens and coach Chris Price for helping with maintaining the field; booster officers Theresa Banks, Melissa Enlow, Becky Nunn and Denise Skaggs; LCHS principal Paul Mullins, athletic director David Dawson, and field coordinator Kelly Sandidge; coach Hayes and her husband; Brandi Eastridge; and Junior DiStefano.

In closing remarks, the players were challenged to become better ballplayers.  “We have a lot of work ahead of us replacing the seniors, but the attitude of the team is in the right place, as we are having players attend showcases, pitching and catching camps, coming in at night for individual lessons and playing over the summer,” said DiStefano. “The only way to get better is to keep working at it, and improving on your weakest area. I’m impressed with the work ethic I have seen on an individual basis this summer and that’s encouraging. A group of 14-and-under players were involved in a round robin this weekend and will play in a tournament on July 18.” 

In closing, Coach D added, “The seniors will be sorely missed. I do feel there is great chemistry between the underclassmen, and they will work very hard to make next season a successful one for the Lady Hawks.”