By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Amory has spent the last couple of fastpitch seasons, already in competitive Monroe County, working its way up the Class 4A contenders ladder.
Two junior Baileys, center fielder Bailey Oswalt and catcher/outfielder Bailey Boyd, have played big roles in that climb.
The two Lady Panthers will get more practice and more exposure today in the Mississippi Association of Coaches Fastpitch All-Star Games at Jones County JC.
Amory second-year coach Amir Hunt says their improvement, and his team’s, has been well gauged by the Monroe County Tournament.
“I don’t know a lot about the program before I got here, but it seems like it was always Smithville, Hamilton and Hatley. I know it’s just the Monroe County Tournament, but you can pretty much gauge how well your team is doing from that tournament.”
Amory won it last season and played North champ Houston within a hit or two of a playoff series win.
The Class 1A/2A/3A North takes on the South at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The 4A/5A/6A games are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. and following the second small schools game. The games feature six Monroe players.
Formerly for seniors, the event switched two years ago to a junior event.
“For Oswalt, she’s been going at it really hard trying to get her name recognized,” Hunt said. “She had a really good junior year and she’s starting to get recognized.”
“Boyd plays hard, works hard and is incredibly smart at two different spots on the field. Playing this game will do a whole lot for their confidence, against the best of the best in the state. It will pay off their senior year.”
Area teams have 10 of the 12 players on the North 1A/2A/3A roster, including catcher Bailey Bogue and pitcher Brittany Taylor from Class 1A state runner-up West Union, as well as Lady Eagles’ coach Lisa Bogue.