(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- One thing anyone can tell from watching a Sikeston Lady Bulldogs softball game is how much time and effort goes into putting a competitive squad on the field.
What may not be so evident, however, is the same time and effort that the girls put into their work in the classroom.
All that hard work was recognized, however, when the Lady Bulldogs were recognized as a Missouri State Fast-Pitch Coaches Association Academic All-State team.
"For the last three year's we've made it," Sikeston head coach Tiffany Morgan said. "Like I told the girls, I expect it now. It's a pretty big honor especially since the grades we take are the ones they make during the season. So they have to not just focus on playing softball, but they are also having to focus on keeping their grades up."
Easily surpassing the 3.3 cumulative grade-point-average (GPA) a team must have, Sikeston finished the fall semester with a combined 3.49 average.
Like last year, the Lady Bulldogs had four players earn first-team individual honors, which requires an athlete to post a semester GPA of 3.88 or better. Those who made the team this season include junior Sarah Dixon, sophomore Annie Ramey, and freshmen Maggie Shepherd and Paige Sailors. Dixon returns after earning first team honors last year when Sikeston posted a 3.65 cumulative team GPA.
Earning a spot on the second team was Sikeston's lone senior Lauren Graham. Athletes were required to earn a 3.75-3.87 cumulative GPA.
"The girls take honor in it," Morgan said of making the team. "They talk about being together and they do study groups and help each other out. They kind of become each other's tutors. The older kids help out the younger kids and in the same aspect the younger kids can sometimes help out the older kids.
"So it's kind of a bonding thing and the award is a huge honor for them to accomplish through the season. Especially in our season, which is so jam packed with games and practice and everything else."
The Lady Bulldogs finished the fall season with a 9-14 record.