|Top of the List: Seven Lady Cats named to District 12-4A softball team|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
May 17, 2006 - Seven Sulphur Springs girls were honored by the District 12-4A coaches on the All-District softball squad, and the future looks bright because six of the girls will return to the diamond next year.
First baseman Katie Dodd was named Co-Freshman of the Year, and Tara Gibby - the lone senior honoree for the Lady Cats - was a First Team selection as a utility player, in voting by the district's coaches.
On the Second Team were sophomore pitcher Marci Womack, sophomore second baseman Amanda McGowin, freshman shortstop Brittani Crawford, junior center fielder Kristen McDonald, and sophomore left fielder Kelsey Evans.
The Lady Cats ended the season with a 3-7 record in district, 9-14-1 overall.
"We didn't finish that well in district, but just the fact that Sulphur Springs has been strong in the past carries a lot of weight and there is a lot of respect there," said SSHS head coach Tommy Grammer. "Coaches understand we've got kids who have the talent - a lot of it was young talent.
"We had excellent defense all year, and the coaches recognized that."
Dodd was the top honoree, as she made an impression by playing flawlessly at first base and batting in the middle of the Lady Cats' lineup. In nine district games (she did not play the last game due to injury), she did not have an error in 92 chances and batted .222 with a pair of RBI. For the season as a whole, she was a .250 hitter.
"Katie's well-deserving," Grammer said. "Her bat held up well for her, and she played well on defense. She did a great job, especially as a freshman being brought up and asked to step into the starting line-up. She did a lot of good things for us."
Gibby earned a First Team selection for the second consecutive year. She started the season at shortstop, then moved to right field midway through the year. She played the final nine games without an error while batting .150.
"Tara's position was as utility player because she started out at shortstop, and she did a good job there. We moved her to outfield to strengthen it, and Tara did a great job in the field for us," Grammer said. "She's really smoother in the outfield than she was in the infield."
Probably the deepest position in the district was pitcher, he explained, as all six pitchers earned awards, including SSHS' Womack. Texas High hurler Kelsey Harrington was the district's MVP. Other superlative awards included Texas High seniors Briauna Birl and Roxanna Holley as Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year; junior Jerissa Patt of Paris and sophomore Shonda Aguilar of Mount Pleasant as Co-Newcomers of the Year; and Dodd and North Lamar's Ashley Endsley as Co-Freshmen of the Year.
"If you look at the six teams, all of them had good pitching, if not above average pitching," Grammer said. "They recognized all of the pitchers as being equal, and they certainly were that. When you look at the scores of the game, it was a tribute to good pitching."
Womack joined NL sophomore Kaci Crawford as Second Team pitchers. Womack had just a 1.66 ERA with 17 walks, 85 strikeouts and 59 hits in 88 1/3 innings. Her won-loss record was 5-8 with one save due to the low run support she received. She made just one error in 37 chances in district.
McGowin and Crawford both made Second Team as middle infielders. Crawford switched from right field to shortstop midway through the season. A freshman, she batted .211 on the season as the No. 2 hitter in the line-up.
McGowin batted in the middle of the order and responded with a .265 batting average during the season, the highest among full-time players. She led the team in hits (18) and extra-base hits (3). She also made one error in 37 chances during district.
McDonald was named Second Team outfielder because of her defensive capabilities. She made just two errors during the season, but her value was also evident in the number of hits she took away. McDonald led the team in RBI during the season with five.
Evans was moved into the lead-off spot in the order and she responded with a .231 average in district, the highest among the starters. She also had two RBI and two walks in District, which tied her for the team lead. Defensively, she did not make an error in 12-4A.