South Shut Out

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 1, 2008

North shuts out South in fastpitch all-star game

By Marty Stamper

The Meridian Star


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DECATUR — Whitney Kiihnl of South Panola has dominated fastpitch softball in Mississippi the last two years, earning Gatorade Softball Player of the Year both times.

Kiihnl more than lived up to her billing Saturday, June 21, in the Mississippi Association of Coaches Class 4A-5A Fastpitch All-Star Games as her North team swept the South 9-4 and 11-0.

Kiihnl, who led South Panola to back-to-back Class 5A state championships, was 27-3 in the circle this year with an 0.17 ERA. All she did Saturday was take North team Most Valuable Player honors by going 5-for-8 at the plate with four RBIs. She also scored four runs. In the circle, she struck out 19 batters in nine innings and allowed only two hits and four walks.

In the opener, Kiihnl threw seven innings and tied the all-time strikeout record with 17 whiffs. She walked just two and drove in a pair of runs.

Kiihnl went to the outfield in the top of the sixth with a dozen whiffs and a 5-0 lead.

Reliever Allison Morgan of Horn Lake promptly gave up four straight hits without recording an out with a three-run homer by Megan Colvin of Stone High cutting the lead to 5-4.

North coach Ashleigh Hicks of South Panola brought Kiihnl back to the circle and she fanned five more and allowed only one hit to close out the win.

The South had a chance to tie, but Mykeal Maes was ruled to have missed third base before scoring in the bottom of the sixth.

“That’s just Whitney,” Hicks said of the performance. “She’s been pitching at (the collegiate distance of) 43 (feet) this summer and the first inning had a lot more balls than normal, but she comes in and does her job and gets out of there.”

“That makes me feel good,” Kiihnl said after being notified she tied the strikeout record of 17 set by Stephanie Comeaux in 2003. “I’m just excited. I was kinda worried coming into the game. I really did want to tie the record, but I wasn’t keeping count. It’s really neat.”

Kiihnl plans to continue her playing career at Lipscomb University.

The North broke the game open with four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Kiihnl and Brittany Roberts of Grenada both had RBI singles.

Hillary Vaughn of DeSoto Central had a two-run single for the North in the third inning.

The South also got an RBI single from Kaci Pribanic of George County. Maes added a double.

Whitney Warner of Brandon took the loss.

In the 11-0 blowout in Game 2, the North took advantage of 10 South errors to pull away. Kiihnl went 4-for-4 with two RBIs and scored a pair of runs. Lauren Goolsby of Clinton had a pair of singles.

Morgan shook off her first-game woes to get the win as she threw five innings of shutout relief. She allowed five hits and struck out four.

Maes had a double to lead the South and earned team MVP honors.

Brittany Fields of George County took the loss.

Editor’s Note: Reprinted with permission by Steve Gillespie, managing editor, The Meridian Star.