Leader Blues

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

SPORTS>>Local athletes dominate All-Star softball

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

The All-Star teams for spring sports were released Tuesday. While a few local players were selected in all three sports, the East fastpitch softball team is dominated by players from The Leader coverage area.

Jacksonville, Beebe and Harding Academy put two players each on the team, while Cabot and Lonoke will also be represented among the top senior ball players in the state of Arkansas.

Jacksonville pitcher Jessica Bock and power hitter Gabrielle Hart will face the West All-Stars next month. Bock has recorded over 1,000 strikeouts in her four years as the Lady Devils’ ace hurler. She has signed to play college ball at Bossier City Junior College in Louisiana.

Hart hit a school-record nine home runs this season for the Lady Devils, and led the team with an overall batting average above .500. She will play for Butler County Community College in Kansas next year. Beebe second baseman Brandi Burkhalter and catcher Sara Flenor were also selected by the East coaching staff, which will be headed up by Melbourne’s Mike Watson.

Burkhalter led the Lady Badgers in batting average this season. She and Flenor are two of only three seniors on the squad that were part of an era of Lady Bagers softball that saw three conference championships, a 40-2 conference record and two state championship-game appearances. Flenor signed with Williams Baptist College in the early signing period. Burkhalter has several offers, but hasn’t decided on the direction she plans to take in college.

Harding Academy pitcher Loghan Lowery and shortstop Taylor Pryor were named to the team. Lowery drew interest from many schools, but decided to attend Harding University and not pursue college athletics. Pryor is also receiving interest, but has not made a decision.

Cabot’s Jamie Sterrenberg will join her coach Becky Steward in Fayetteville. Steward was selected as an assistant coach on the East team. Sterrenberg was the Lady Panthers’ leading hitting this season. She has interest from several schools in softball and basketball, but hasn’t yet decided where to continue her athletic career.

The final local selection is Lonoke’s Emily Burns. Burns helped take Lonoke to a second-place finish in conference and district tournament, and to a regional playoff appearance. In soccer, North Pulaski’s Sarah Watson, Jacksonville’s Stephanie Kennedy and state champion Searcy’s Michelle Giezman will play for Valley View’s Ron Test for the East squad.

Searcy’s boys, who also won the 6A state title, put Seth McGinnis and Bruce Beakheimer on the East squad as well.
The Lions also put a pair of players on the East baseball team. Adam Robertson and Scott Sammons will join Cabot’s Colin Fuller, Abundant Life’s Jerry Lawson and Sylvan Hills’ Taylor Roark when they take on the West team at Baum Stadium.
Fuller was also selected to the East football team, but only allowed to play one sport, plans to play in the baseball game.
All-Star Week is set for June 19-22 at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Games start at 5 p.m. Tuesday June 19 when the baseball doubleheader gets started at Baum Stadium. Girls soccer starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday and boys soccer is set for 8 p.m.

Softball and volleyball will be Wednesday. Softball will start at Lady Back Yard at 5 p.m. with volleyball beginning at 7 p.m. at Barnhill Arena. Basketball is set for Thursday. The girls take the floor at Bud Walton Arena at 6 p.m. and the boys follow at approximately 8 p.m. All-Star Week concludes with the All-Star football game at Razorback Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday.