Cantrell, Mesko, Stansell earn honors

By Anthony Rhoads

The 2003 high school softball season saw Henry County teams again dominating the local scene and Henry has again swept the post-season honors.

Eagle's Landing's Allison Cantrell has been named the player of the year and teammate Terri Mesko has been named pitcher of the year while Union Grove's Valarie Stansell has been named the coach of the year.

Player of the Year

Cantrell completed her high school softball career in style this year.

The Eagle's Landing senior shortstop batted .454, scored 20 runs, racked up 12 RBIs and posted an on-base percentage of .476.

She has been named The Daily's 2003 High School Softball Player of the Year, the third straight year she has been honored.

She has also been named to the GACA All-State team three years in a row.

"Everyone knows if you give Allison Cantrell a chance to beat you, she will beat you," out-going Eagle's Landing head coach Blake Lyons said.

Cantrell will go on to Coastal Carolina University.

"She's not only a good softball player but more importantly, she's a good person," Lyons said. "She works hard both on the off the field."

Pitcher of the Year

Mesko, a sophomore, struck out 392 batters in 2003 and averaged more than 12 strikeouts per seven innings during the season.

She had an ERA of .53 and allowed just 56 walks, 76 hits and 36 runs. Mesko was also solid on defense as she had a fielding percentage of .946.

She especially turned things up in the post-season as Eagle's Landing won the Region 2-AAAAA and Class AAAAA South Sectionals. In the region tournament, she tossed three shutouts and allowed just one run each in three other games. In the sectionals, she hurled two shutouts.

"I think she did a great job this year," Lyons said.

Coach of the Year

Stansell led the Union Grove Lady Wolverines to their first trip to the Elite 8 in Columbus this season. The Lady Wolverines finished third in Class AA.

Union Grove also more than held its own against teams in higher classification as the team won two invitational tournaments.