Lady Pioneers celebrate season at awards banquet

GC LADY PIONEERS SOFTBALL INDIVIDUAL AWARDS – Lady Pioneers softball members receiving individual awards during the softball banquet were: (front row) Maddie Neal-Slugging Award, Allie Smithson-Lady Pioneer Award, Justyce White-Legacy Award, Grace Hollis-Team Captain; (back row) Ashley O’Daniel-Team Captain, Jaci White-Most Improved, Lexie Garner-The Ace Award, Chloe Hopgood-Best Defensive Player, and Macey Neal-Batting Award and Stolen Base Award. (Photo by Lori Cathey)

by Lori Cathey

Members of the 2017 Gibson County High School Lady Pioneers softball team were recognized for their achievements as a team and individuals at their annual awards banquet on Thursday, May 25, at GCHS. The evening kicked-off with the traditional meal provided by the softball program to honor athletes and their parents for their time and dedication to the program.

Gibson County High School Lady Pioneers Coach Chris Lownsdale started the evening off by welcoming everyone to the banquet.

Coach Lownsdale began the awards segment of the banquet by going over a few of the 2017 season’s accomplishments. The Lady Pioneers finished in second place in the regular season for the first time in school history. They also finished the 2017 14-A District Tournament in third place for the third time in school history and with a season winning record of 15-14.

This year’s seniors were Grace Hollis, Britton Mann, Justyce White and Allie Smithson.

Several career records were broken this season by Lady Pioneer Justyce White. She set new record with a career batting average of .429. She played in 130 games with previous record being 126 games held by Katie Davies. She tied career hits with Britney Garner at 150 and tied career doubles with Katie Davis at 35.

Lady Pioneers Macey Neal set several new records during the 2017 season. She set new record for runs scored with 33; the previous record was 32 by Britney Garner. She had 49 hits with 23 stolen bases with Allie Smithson having the previous record with 15.

Allie Smithson and Britton Mann were named to the 14-A All-Academic Team. Tennessee Softball Coaches Association named Britton Mann, Allie Smithson, Justyce White, Maddie Neal and Ashley O’Daniel to the TSCA All-Academic Team.

Coach Lownsdale started the awards presentation with reading the names of the 2017 Lady Pioneers softball players. Lady Pioneers Coach Katie Davis Ricketts handed the awards out as Coach Lownsdale provided some individual stats. Lady Pioneers players who received awards were: Maddie Neal, Slugging Award, led the team with nine doubles; Allie Smithson, Lady Pioneer Award; Justyce White, Legacy Award; Britton Mann, Family First Award; Grace Hollis, Team Captain; Ashley O’Daniel, Team Captain; Jaci White, Most Improved; Lexie Garner, The Ace Award, pitched 126 inning with a ERA of 1.99; Chloe Hopgood, Best Defensive Player, had 62 put outs with only two errors; and Macey Neal, Batting Award and Stolen Base Award.

Justyce White, Maddie Neal, Macey Neal and Lexie Garner were all named to the 14-A All-District Team. Justyce White and Maddie Neal were also named to the 14-A All-Tournament Team. GC Coach Chris Lownsdale was named the Coach of the Year at the conclusion of the 14-A All-Tournament.

In closing remarks, Coach Lownsdale again thanked all those who helped with the Gibson County Softball Program this past season and commended the players for their hard work throughout the year.

The banquet concluded with Coach Lownsdale announcing that Ashley O’Daniel and Maddie Neal were voted by the players to be the 2018 Lady Pioneers captains.

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