One lethal hitter

Published 12:31 am Sunday, June 5, 2011

The St. Aloysius fast-pitch team might not have had the best of seasons, but sophomore Mallory McGuffee certainly did.

McGuffee proved to be one of the most dangerous bats in Warren County this spring. She had three home runs, including two that went over the fence. She also hit for average with a county-best .519 mark. For her batting prowess, McGuffee is the Vicksburg Post’s 2011 Softball Player of the Year.

McGuffee said she’s loved hitting a ball since she was big enough to pick up a bat.

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“I guess I started when I was in T-ball,” McGuffee said.

By the time she was 8 years old, McGuffee had progressed to tournament teams. She has played on one ever since and this summer, she will start at either third or first base for the Mississippi Motion, a traveling tournament team out of Madison that features some of the best players in central Mississippi. The Motion are considered to be an ‘A’ level club, meaning they are just one notch below the highest rated level of ‘Gold’.

“Most of the girls are playing to get college exposure,” McGuffee said. “On my team, I’m the only one from Vicksburg. We have some from North Pike’s team, Canton Academy and a couple from Madison Central, including the pitcher, Kelly Young.”

The Motion plays a packed schedule until mid-July.

“We’re on the road every weekend,” said McGuffee’s mother, Renee, who works the front desk at St. Al. “We spend something like 20 nights a summer in a hotel somewhere in the Southeast. But it’s all we’ve done in the summer since she was 8 years old.”

The competition McGuffee faces in the summer prepares her to dominate Class 1A pitchers in the following spring. This yearm it led to her first Player of the Year award.

“It’s exciting to get it,” McGuffee said. “I knew this year, I needed to step up as much as possible. We had a really young team.”

McGuffee, usually a power hitter in the three-spot, wound up hitting leadoff this year for the Lady Flashes (7-14).

She displayed some speed and stole 22 bases out of 24 attempts.

“I’m pretty fast, but this was the first time I was the leadoff batter,” McGuffee said.

McGuffee said a poor early start by the Lady Flashes was tough, but the team did manage a late streak, winning six out of seven games.

“We finally started to play as a team,” McGuffee said. “I’m very competitive. I like the competition.”

And that’s why six straight weekends of softball doesn’t faze her.

“I guess I’ll get something like 200 at-bats this summer against a lot of different kind of pitchers,” McGuffee said.

McGuffee’s favorite tournaments are on the menu at Birmingham, Ala. and Chattanooga, Tenn.

“She really loves Birmingham because of the shopping,” Renee McGuffee said. “And it’s a big tournament, too, because of the college exposure.”

McGuffee still has two more years of high school left before she has to decide where or if she plays college softball.

“I’m still thinking about it,” McGuffee said.