Top Softball Honors

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 22, 2007

2007 Miss Softball & Coach of the Year Head coach Ashleigh Hicks and pitcher Whitney Kiihnl The Panolian photos by Danielle Bean

Kiihnl and Hicks: a winning combo – top in the state

By Myra Bean

In the Sunday, May 20 edition, The Clarion-Ledger named South Panola’s Whitney Kiihnl Miss Softball and Lady Tiger head coach Ashleigh Hicks Coach-of-the-Year.

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“I was shocked. I wasn’t expecting it,” Kiihnl, dubbed Queen of the Hill, told the Clarion Ledger.

Kiihnl pitched the team to a 33-4 record highlighted with an undefeated post season and a state championship. She struck out 500 batters this season with a .09 ERA. She allowed only three earned runs in the 231 innings she pitched.

Hicks left a highly potential Madison Central team to take over the Lady Tigers who had failed time and again to get a win against district powerhouses Southaven and Horn Lake. The Lady Tigers made history with a 3-1 record over those two teams. The only loss was to Horn Lake.

Hicks mantra to the team this year was to work on the basic fundamentals of hitting, fielding and base running.

South Panola handed Oak Grove its first losses in two years in straight games for the 5A state championship.

This follows on the tail of the South Panola football team which boasts Chris Strong as Mr. Football for 2006 and head coach Ricky Woods Mississippi Association of Coaches Coach of the Year.

Both Kiihnl and Strong were named the best in their sport last week at the Pop Star Awards, sponsored by the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. Jeramie Griffin was honored as the second best player in football.

Friday night, the football team received its state championship rings as Woods said a final good-bye to the community he has grown to love.

“We hope one day to move back here,” Woods said.

Woods was also recognized as the U.S. Army All-American coach-of-the-year.