Drum roll please… it’s time to unveil the winners of softball’s five C-P awards. Although far more than five players were deserving of the awards, there’s only so much hardware to go around.
Columbia’s Kacey Stampley, who won by the most significant margin, is the Marion General Hospital Most Valuable Player. The senior had a monster campaign, batting .603 with six home runs, nine doubles, five triples, 42 RBI and a 1.869 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) to along with a 16-4 record, 2.61 ERA, 154 strikeouts in 118 innings pitched and 18 complete games. She also had a 27-game hit streak that spanned back to the beginning of last season. West Marion’s Olivia Miller and East Marion’s Adrinae Aikens were also nominated for the award.
Aikens and Stampley were also nominated for Ward’s Offensive Player of the Year, along with Columbia Academy’s Allie Watts and East Marion’s Holly Jackson and Asia Lenoir, but the award goes to West Marion third baseman Paris Thompson. Thompson was the heart of the Lady Trojans lineup, hitting .563 with three long balls, seven doubles, two triples, 35 RBI, nine stolen bases and a 1.792 OPS. Even as a power hitter, she managed to go all season without striking out once.
Thompson will not be the only Lady Trojan taking home some hardware. Miller, who was also in the running for MVP, is The Deck Pitcher of the Year. The hard-throwing righty went 3-2 with three saves, a 2.87 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 50.1 innings pitched. Stampley was also in the running.
In the tightest race of the five awards, Columbia Academy’s Allie Watts earned herself recognition as the Buckley Transport Most Improved Player. Watts, who starred for CA in the fall, batted .427 with four homers, 16 doubles, four triples, 39 RBI, four stolen bases and a 1.293 OPS. She boosted her average up to .427 from .284 and increased her OPS from a pedestrian .739 to an elite 1.293. Columbia’s Jalaysia Everett and CA’s Maddie Claire Sauls were also nominated for the award. If it could be split three ways in this category, it would be.
West Marion’s seventh-grade shortstop makes it three awards for the Lady Trojans as Gracyn Odom earned the Custom Trophy & Engraving Breakout Star of the Year. Odom was an on-base machine who crazily never struck out once, batting .520 with five doubles, three triples, 25 RBI, six stolen bases and a 1.480 OPS.
Nominated alongside Odom were East Marion’s Selena Jackson, West Marion’s Samaria Pittman, Columbia Academy’s Macey Branch, Columbia’s Kaylee Stringer and Lenoir.
Each award winner will receive a plaque and will have their picture on the front page of next Saturday’s edition of the C-P with the sponsor of the award.