Belhaven softball headlines CCS postseason awards

Kevin Griffin, Kennedy Carruth, Allie Gordon all get conference awards
Published: May. 2, 2023 at 10:48 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Belhaven softball team didn’t earn the #1 seed in its first season in the Collegiate Conference of the South by accident, and that was evident when the CCS postseason awards were announced Monday.

The Blazers headlined three of the biggest awards given by the conference, with head coach Kevin Griffin winning Coach of the Year, junior pitcher Kennedy Carruth winning Pitcher of the Year, and junior third baseman Allie Gordon winning Player of the Year.

In her path to become the Blazers’ all-time home run and RBI leader, Gordon hit .472, with 16 doubles, three triples, ten home runs, and 42 RBIs.

“Sometimes we get a runner on first and I don’t want to steal them to second and leave first base open, because I know they’ll probably intentionally walk her, or pitch around her,” Griffin said about Gordon.

Gordon said the key to being successful over the course of a long season is having a short memory.

“If you have a bad game, or a bad at-bat, you just shake it off,” she said. “You cannot think about two at-bats ago, or the error you made on defense. Just have to shake it off and look forward to the next one.”

Something that helps Gordon relax at the plate is knowing she can rely on her teammates if she can’t get the job done.

“Just knowing that my teammates can be right behind me to pick me up if I don’t get the big hit, or I don’t get the game winning home run, it doesn’t matter as long as the next person’s there to pick me up. That’s really what it’s all about,” she said.

What helps all the Blazers hitters is that when Carruth is on the mound, they don’t need to provide too many runs.

This year, Carruth was dominant on the mound. She went 15-4 with 15 complete games, striking out 168 hitter in 127.2 innings, allowing just a 0.93 ERA.

“She just has that dog mindset,” Gordon said. “She wants to win more than anything, and I think with that mindset you can go so far. She just has the mindset of she refuses to lose, and I think that’s a mindset that everybody should have.”

This year, the Blazers finished the regular season with a 24-11 record, 14-2 in the CCS. Currently, Griffin sits at 396 career wins in 591 games (a .670 winning percentage) ahead of this week’s games.

“He communicates with us, he listens to what we need,” Gordon said. “He’s not a screamer, he’s not a yeller, but he does know when to push and when to not.”

Griffin said he can’t take all the credit for the team’s success; it belongs to his players and assistant coaches, Courtney Fairley and Bailey Winscott.

“Good players make good coaches,” he said. “It’s not just me, it’s a Coach to the Year award with my name on it, but I’ve got a great staff, and they should get a lot of credit themselves, it’s just not all about me.”

Gordon and Carruth were also named to the CCS First Team, while Ellie Jones, Madi Miller, and Natalie parker were named to the Second Team. Jordan Kanipe was named to the conference All-Sportsmanship Team.

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