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Coaches say slow-pitch will survive

By Staff
SAFE n Amory's Leslie Jackson is safe at second against West Lauderdale's Amber Joyner at the Meridian Community College Invitational Softball Tournament. New Hope went on to win the tournament by defeating Amory 28-20.Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Marty Stamper\The Meridian Star
September 29, 2001
With fast-pitch softball growing in popularity in Mississippi and the state's junior and senior colleges no longer playing anything but fast-pitch, one might assume slow-pitch softball would be on the way out at the high school level as well.
Several of the high school coaches at the 13th-annual Meridian Community College Invitational slow-pitch tournament Saturday say otherwise.
Roberson sees advantages to girls playing both versions of the sport.
New Hope head coach Cary Shepherd was one of the early founders of slow-pitch as a high school sport in Mississippi. She also coaches fast-pitch at the Columbus school.
New Hope, like local powers West Lauderdale and Newton County, makes money off slow-pitch. That could be a factor in how long the sport will continue to prosper.
Slow-pitch supports itself at Newton County.
Fanning also coaches the Lady Cougars fast-pitch team in the spring.
Where the slow-pitch game is ebbing is in Class 5A as only 25 schools are participating this year. Petal and Wayne County made the playoffs from day one as the only two schools in their division. Meridian, Northwest Rankin, and Brandon are the only three schools playing in their league.
West Lauderdale frequently packs the house at Richard May Field. The Lady Knights don't play fast-pitch.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at mstamper@themeridianstar.com or call him at 693-1551, ext. 3234.

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