Odom, Fanning honored
By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
Dec. 18, 2001
Northeast Lauderdale junior shortstop Raleigh Odom and Newton County veteran coach Mack Fanning have been selected Player and Coach of the Year for the 2001 Fall Softball All-Area Team by The Meridian Star.
Three other players also received individual honors.
Newton County junior Suzanne Chaney was chosen the area's Most Outstanding Pitcher, West Lauderdale junior third baseman J.J. Huggins was named Most Outstanding Offensive Player and Newton County junior shortstop Kristin Chaney was selected Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
Odom batted .577 with 12 doubles, 13 triples, 11 home runs, and 70 RBIs. She also received 12 walks and scored 63 runs as the Lady Trojans went 33-6 and finished second in the state in Class 4A.
Fanning has been the only head coach the Newton County Lady Cougars' program has known. He started the season with his 300th career victory and finished it with the Class 3A state championship.
In going 34-3, the Lady Cougars lost only to Class 4A state champion New Hope, Class 5A state runner-up Northwest Rankin, and Class 3A state semifinalist West Lauderdale. The Lady Cougars went 11-1 in winning Division 5-3A.
In Fanning's tenure, the Lady Cougars have won two state championships (1992 and 2001) and placed second in Class 3A three times (1996, 1999, and 2000).
Suzanne Chaney was 34-3 with 11 shutouts on the mound for the Lady Cougars. In 24 games, she allowed no more than two runs. She struck out 22 while walking 10, five of which were intentional. At the plate, Chaney batted .520 with 36 RBIs.
Huggins batted .559 with 11 doubles, one triple, 16 homers, and 42 RBIs. And her homers weren't the inside-the-park kind as she frequently left the yard with authority. Huggins also received 26 walks and scored 37 runs.
Kristin Chaney frequently dove in the hole to take away base hits and left an impression on West Lauderdale head coach Jerry Boatner, who faced Newton County four times this fall, losing three of the four meetings.
Chaney also batted .475 with 14 extra base hits and 30 RBIs.
Three other coaches join Fanning on the all-area coaching staff.
Harper led the Lady Trojans of Northeast to a 33-6 record and a second-place finish in the state in Class 4A in his first season as head coach despite having only two seniors on his roster. Northeast went 10-0 in winning Division 5-4A and held its opponents to two runs or less on 19 occasions.
Clarkdale's Rick Roberson led the Lady Bulldogs to a 24-12 record and second place in the state in Class 2A despite having only one senior and two juniors on his roster. The Lady Bulldogs won Division 5-2A with an 8-0 mark.
Nanih Waiya's Jennifer Holdiness led the Lady Warriors to a 19-10 record and second place in the state in Class 1A. Nanih Waiya went 7-3 to finish second in Division 6-1A behind Union, but advanced to the state finals by taking a best-of-three South State series from Union.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 693-1551, ext. 3235.