FHS’s Fussell wins co-MVP, McGhee co-Coach of the Year

Published 3:43 am Saturday, July 6, 2019

Franklinton’s Aleigha Fussell is the District 8-4A co-Most Valuable Player and Lady Demons coach Leslie McGhee is the league’s co-Coach of the Year.

This season, Fussell posted a 22-7 record with a 3.42 ERA. She had 139 strikeouts and 50 walks over 198-1/3 innings.

At the plate, Fussell hit .294, reached base at a .311 clip and she slugged .402. Fussell hit a homer, drove in 20 runs, tallied one run and she doubled eight times.

Fussell was co-MVP with Lakeshore pitcher Cara Rankin.

“It means a lot to me because I definitely couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” Fussell said. “They really backed me up no matter what. It’s just an honor to be (Most Valuable Player).”

Fussell said the key to her success was her teammates.

“They’re always there for me no matter what,” Fussell said. “Even if I had a bad game, they were still there to pick me up and do their best.”

McGhee was co-Coach of the Year with Lakeshore’s Scott Dennis.

This season, McGhee guided the Lady Demons to the District 8-4A Title after posting a 6-2 record in league play and a 20-7 overall mark in the regular season. Franklinton reached the quarterfinal round of the playoffs, as the No. 5 team, but lost to fourth-seeded and state semifinalist Beau Chene, 4-3.

“It is great to be recognized as Coach of the Year but the true recognition should be given to the outstanding group of young ladies I get to coach,” McGhee said. “They are absolutely a blessing to coach and be around.”

Lakeshore was the eighth-seeded team in the playoffs, but lost in the regional round to ninth-seeded and state runner up Buckeye, 9-2.

Besides Fussell, several more Lady Demons were first-team all-district players, including catcher Albanie Fussell, infielders Brylie Fowler and Ashlan Ard and outfielders Ashlyn Welch and Bailey Spears.

This year, Albanie Fussell batted .294 with a .354 on-base percentage and a .373 slugging percentage. Fussell doubled six times, tripled once, drove in 25 runs and she scored a run.

Fowler was a .320 hitter, she posted a .466 on-base percentage and she slugged .466. Fowler posted 11 doubles and two triples, 22 RBIs and 33 runs scored.

Ard put up a .495 batting average this season with a .589 on-base percentage and a .907 slugging percentage. Ard hit six home runs, posted 30 RBIs and she scored 46 runs.

Welch batted .321, tallied a .522 on-base percentage and she slugged .487. Welch recorded 17 RBIs, 31 runs scored. Welch doubled five times and tripled four times.

Spears batted .269, had a .369 on-base percentage and a .298 slugging percentage. Spears drove in 15 runs and scored 27 runs. Spears doubled three times.

Three Lady Demons are second-team all-district players — infielder Kiersten Allen, outfielder Bailey Brooks and utility Missouri Varnado.

Allen batted .281, reached base at a .357 clip and she recorded a .427 slugging percentage. Allen posted 29 RBIs and she scored 22 runs. Allen doubled 10 times and tripled twice.

Brooks hit .325 with a .400 on-base percentage and she had a .390 slugging percentage. Brooks drove in 16 runs and scored 17 runs. Brooks doubled five times.

Varnado was a .266 hitter this season with a .333 on-base percentage and a .319 slugging percentage. Varnado had 18 runs batted in and 19 runs scored. She doubled three times and tripled once.

The first team pitchers were Aleigha Fussell and Rankin.

In addition to Albanie Fussell, St. Scholastica Academy catcher Caroline LeBoeuf is a first-team catcher.

Including Fowler and Ard, the rest of the top-team’s infielders are St. Scholastica Academy’s Anna Champ and Lakeshore teammates Alara Taylor and Jade Parker.

The outfield that includes Welch and Spears, also has Pearl River’s Jessee Gille and Lakeshore teammates Madison Miller and Emma Colwart.

The utility players are Pearl River’s Alexis Wadsworth and Lakeshore’s Rebecca Ranum.

Pearl River was the 15th-seeded playoff team, but lost to second-seeded and semifinalist North DeSoto, 10-0, in the regionals.

St. Scholastica Academy was the 14th-seeded team in Division II, but lost to third-seeded and quarterfinalist Haynes Academy, 9-0, in the regionals.

The second-team all-district pitcher is St. Scholastica Academy’s Maddie Delaune.

Pearl River’s Serenity Burge is the catcher.

Besides Allen, the rest of the infield has St. Scholastica Academy teammates Arden Perry and Emily Borne and Pearl River’s Erica Delaune.

Including Brooks, the outfield has Lakeshore’s Grace Boudreaux.

Besides Varnado, the rest of the utility players are Salmen’s Bethany Nicaud, Pearl River teammates Katie Pullens and Brianna Alligood and Lakeshore teammates Alexa Williams and Ashley Mayfield.