Warren Central softball players Fancher, Smith sign with college teams

Published 2:08 pm Thursday, November 2, 2023

Jenn Smith and Sarah Cameron Fancher have been fixtures in Warren Central’s softball starting lineup for three years, and travel ball teammates before that. Their time together will soon come to an end, but their playing careers are far from over.

The two seniors were honored this week at signing ceremonies at the school. Smith will play at Northwest Mississippi Community College and Fancher at East Central Community College beginning in the fall of 2024.

Smith held her signing ceremony on Wednesday and Fancher signed on Thursday.

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“It means everything, and it’s just the realization that everything that I worked for and all the hours put in has finally worked,” Smith said. “For a while it felt like something far in the distance, and probably a dream, and now it’s a reality.”

Smith, a center fielder, and the shortstop Fancher have played together on various travel ball teams for nearly eight years. Fancher became a starter for Warren Central in eighth grade, and Smith since she joined the team in ninth.

“It’s going to be weird when I can’t turn my back and see her in the outfield,” Fancher said.

Fancher has been a starter for Warren Central at both second base and shortstop for four seasons, and was selected to The Vicksburg Post’s All-County team each time.

Before that, she and Smith were both on the 12U Vicksburg All-Star team that represented Mississippi in the 2018 Little League Southwest Regional in Waco, Texas.

Last season for Warren Central, Fancher batted .329 with four doubles, 17 RBIs and 23 runs scored. She chose East Central Community College because of the welcoming atmosphere surrounding the team.

“It felt like family on my visit. I really felt at home, and I loved the coaches and the environment,” she said. “They do Bible study as a team, and I really liked that. I don’t know of any other team that does that.”

Smith, meanwhile, was the Vicksburg Post Player of the Year in Warren County in 2022 when she batted .415, drove in 27 runs and scored 23. She followed that up with a .333 average, team-high 19 RBIs and 17 runs scored in 2023.

Like Fancher, Smith said Northwest Mississippi was just the right fit for her.

“It felt like home. I know that’s what everybody says, but the environment and the campus and the coaches, and the field just felt like where I needed to be,” Smith said. “It’s not like going from this small town to somewhere big, so I felt like this was the perfect fit.”

The two Warren Central players have one more season together, in the spring of 2024. After that they’ll be occasional opponents when their Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference teams meet up.

This week, though, they celebrated another common victory as they charted their futures.

“I think it’s super cool,” Smith said. “We’ve been playing with each other since 12U and we’ll be playing against, but still playing and seeing each other after senior year.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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