TUPELO – Nettleton’s dynamic duo of Michele Hester and Hayley Parker turned another page in the final chapter of their illustrious high school careers by leading the East All-Stars to a 12-5 victory over the West in Thursday’s fifth Northeast Mississippi Softball Coaches Association Fastpitch Softball All-Star game.
Hester earned East Defensive MVP honors by striking out three in three innings of scoreless, one-hit softball, while Parker took home East Offensive MVP honors when she went 3 for 4 with two runs scored, two RBIs and two stolen bases.
“Words can’t express how proud I am of Michele and Hayley,” said Nettleton coach Chris Kidd, who was named the NEMSBCA Fastpitch Coach of the Year. “They have meant so much to our program, school, and community both on and off the field, and to see them play so well today like they have throughout their entire careers is a fitting end for a pair of special players.”
The East jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning on a two-run single by Parker. The East cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fifth when Lindsey Liles (Calhoun City) scored on a groundout by Brianna Gable (North Pontotoc) and Chassey Barnes (Kossuth) scored on a single by Danielle Taylor (West Union).
A five-run sixth inning put the game on ice for the East as Swayze Hollenhead (East Webster), Kami Roberts (Smithville), Hester, Whitney Hardwick (Alcorn Central), and Jessica Panell (Booneville) each scored in the inning.
Chelsea Kuhn (East Union), Cammie Tedford (Pontotoc), Courtney Quillian (North Pontotoc) scored to pull the West to a 9-5 deficit before the East added three runs in the top of the seventh to pull away for the seven-run victory.
“We wanted to win,” said Hester. “We treated this game like it was every other game we’ve played during our high school careers.
“It’s awesome to be able to play with these girls that we’ve played against all these years,” said Parker. “We all meshed really well and it felt like we had been playing together for years.”
Gable was named Defensive MVP for the West, while Barnes went 3 for 3 with a RBI double, one run scored and two stolen bases to earn West Offensive MVP honors.
Adama Gore/Special to the Journal