BOONEVILLE, Miss. – Northeast Mississippi Community College head softball coach Jody Long will enter the fall 2013 semester in uncharted territory as the veteran softball coach has announced the hiring of a pair of assistants.
Former Lady Tiger standout Jaisa Fox-Emerson and former Northwest Mississippi Community College infielder Haylei Plummer will join the Lady Tigers on the sidelines for the upcoming season.
“This is a great day in Northeast softball as we continue to grow and move this program forward,” Long said. “The demand of the colligate athlete has become more demanding and almost impossible for me to continue the success of this program alone however, the platform that our program has been built on during my tenure will not change.”
With the hiring of Plummer and Fox-Emerson, Long will have two part-time assistant coaches for the first time in his tenure as head coach that started in 2006.
“We are very lucky to hire two young ladies that not only understand our philosophy but believe in it,” Long said. “I’m excited not only to have help, but to have help that I feel I can turn over certain parts of responsibility and not have to worry that it will get done.”
After serving as a student assistant for the Lady Tigers in 2013, Fox-Emerson will join Long and company on a part-time basis for the 2013-14 school however, Fox-Emerson is not a stranger to the Lady Tiger program.
“Jaisa helped me last season and took on more responsibilities than your typical student assistant should. I feel this will be an even more rewarding experience for her,” Long said. “Jaisa will handle the daily workouts for pitchers, serving as our pitching coach as well as assisting with our hitter development and out-of-state recruiting.”
Prior to her role as a student assistant for the Lady Tigers, Fox-Emerson helped lead the Lady Tiger softball team to one of its most successful season in the last half-decade during the 2012 campaign and was named a National Junior Colleges Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XXIII selection for her work in the circle.
Fox-Emerson, who sat out her freshman year after injuring her arm, came back to help lead the Northeast softball team to a 32-19 record overall in 2012 and set a school-record for wins in the North Division (17) as the Lady Tigers finished third in the division.
However, it was the postseason where Fox-Emerson made the most of her time on the mound.
Northeast parlayed the playoff berth into an appearance in the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) State Championship game against Jones County and finished third in the NJCAA Region XXIII Tournament in Clinton.
In addition to Fox-Emerson’s Region XXIII status, the Ohio native was also named to the MACJC All-State Team and was honored as the North Division’s Most Valuable Player.
Fox-Emerson appeared in 43 games for the Lady Tigers in 2012 clocking time as a pitcher and designated player.
During her time on the mound, Fox-Emerson tossed 144 innings and allowed just 52 runs of which 43 were earned. In addition to holding opponents to just one earned run a game, Fox-Emerson limited the opposition to 110 hits on the year while striking out 143 and gave up just 34 walks.
Fox-Emerson’s 143 strikeouts place her fourth in school history and her 15 wins during the year also are fourth in team history.
Fox-Emerson posted a 15-9 record with a 2.09 earn run average and was perfect on the base paths (3-for-3).
At the plate, the redshirt freshman was 37-for-110 in 43 games with 10 doubles, 23 RBI and 20 runs scored. While posting a .336 batting average, Fox-Emerson also picked up a .424 on base percentage while picking up 18 walks, one hit by pitch and three sacrifices in addition to her 37 hits.
Fox-Emerson was a tough out for the opposition at the plate in 132 plate appearances on the season, the Cincinnati, Ohio native struck out just five times – an average of one strike out for ever 26.4 plate appearances.
In the field, Fox-Emerson posted a .906 fielding percentage while committing just five errors in her 43 games for the Lady Tigers.
Before coming to Northeast, Fox-Emerson was a standout pitcher at Fairfield High School in Fairfield, Ohio.
In her senior season with the Lady Indians, Fox-Emerson went 20-7 with a 0.60 earn run average while striking out 233 in 175 innings and was named the JournalNews Butler County Pitcher of the Year for the second time in her varsity career.
During her varsity career at Fairfield, Fox-Emerson set most of the school’s pitching records and finished with a 70-28 with a 0.83 earn run average and still holds the records for complete games (90-of-95) and strikeouts – fanning 840 in her career.
“Haylei will bring excitement, compassion, commitment, knowledge of the game,” Long said. “I feel she will primarily grow into a role but not limited to the daily routine of our infielders, assist with hitting instruction and assist in the in-state recruiting.”
Plummer was a starter at South Panola High School in Batesville for four years and carried the Lady Tigers to a pair of Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A North Half championships and a pair of Class 6A MHSAA state championships.
Plummer parlayed her varsity career into two years at Northwest Mississippi Community College under Lady Ranger head coach Mike Rowan. While at Northwest Mississippi, Plummer, a second baseman, was named to the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-State quad in both her freshman and sophomore years and was named to the National Junior Colleges Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XXIII team at the culmination of her second year in Senatobia.
While at Northwest Mississippi, Plummer started 40 of 76 games – all starts coming her sophomore season – and registered a .425 batting average during her two years in Senatobia.
Plummer came on strong during her sophomore year where the Batesville-native collected 57 hits in 131 at bats for a .435 batting average and chased home 31 runs while scoring 38.
Plummer was also named the Most Offensive Player for the MACJC North Division during her sophomore year at Northwest Mississippi.
Plummer left her mark on the Lady Ranger record book during her two years in Senatobia. Plummer still holds school-records for hits (57), stolen bases (11-for-11) and assists (88) in a season and is second on the list in batting average (.435), on base percentage (.497), at bats (131) and hit by pitches (15).
During her two years at Northwest Mississippi, Plummer was able to set career marks in on base percentage (.523) and stolen bases (14-for-14) while registering second in school history in slugging percentage (.575), runs scores (71), total bases (126) and being hit by a pitch (23).
A lifelong softball player, Plummer’s playing days did not end after her two-year stint in Senatobia as the Batesville-native made the short trek to Blue Mountain College to finish her undergraduate degree and softball career as part of the college’s first softball team.
Plummer clocked two years at Blue Mountain College under Northeast alumni Kevin Barefield while pursuing a secondary education degree in history and psychology.
Under Barefield, Plummer, who made the transition to shortstop for the Lady Toppers, was named to the All-TranSouth Athletic Conferences’ second team.
In two years at Blue Mountain, Plummer was apart of 94 contests seeing the field 44 times during her junior year and reaching the 50-game plateau her senior season. Plummer pieced together a .284 batting average during her two years at the Tippah County-based college and came away with a .355 slugging percentage.
Plummer collected two home runs in her two seasons with the Lady Toppers – both coming in her junior year and tallied 37 runs, 29 runs batted in and struck out just 20 times in 282 at bats.
In the field, Plummer posted a .909 fielding percentage while becoming the anchor of the Lady Topper middle infield. Plummer converted on 371 chances of 308 during her 94 games including 131 assists her senior year.
During the 2012 season, Plummer was ranked in the Top 25 in the nation in the NAIA’s Division I in total assists for the Lady Toppers (131) and assists per game (2.62).
“I very excited about the possibilities this gives our program,” Long said. “Both of these young ladies I have watched grow up the past few years and both desire to become coaches and give back to a game they love.”