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Stallard: Lady Cardinals going to bat for stroke victims

By Jack Stallard
May 31, 2014 at 11 p.m.

Once again, I have a bunch of kiddos to thank for reminding me why I love my job.

If you've been paying attention to the high school softball landscape the past few seasons, you've probably caught on that Sabine's Jayden Mount can flat out play the game.

She was the Longview News-Journal/ Newcomer of the Year as a freshman in 2013 after hitting .571 with 11 home runs, 66 RBIs, 16 doubles, 11 triples and stealing 22 bases in 23 attempts.

This season, she hit at a .542 clip with nine home runs, 52 RBIs, 15 doubles, seven triples and 30 steals in 32 attempts. She can pitch a little, too. The one chance I got to see Sabine this season she threw a no-hitter, recording 14 of the 15 outs via the strikeout to help Sabine coach Mark Comfort earn career victory No. 300.

Here's something you might not know about Mount because it doesn't show up in the statistics.

She's a pretty great kid. Evidently, she's got some great teammates and friends, too.

When Mount's grandmother, or "Mamaw" as she calls her, had a stroke in 2011 it shook the entire family.

"Mostly though, it affected Mamaw. She's been struggling since 2011," Mount told me.

Mount knows other families and other stroke victims are also fighting the same battle, so she decided to go to bat for them.

On June 13 in Liberty City, Mount and Sabine teammates Kennidee Taylor, Allyson Cook, Heather McCown, Kaitlin Hunter, Kourtlin Hunter, Caitlyn Richard, Cheyenne Bynum, Summer McCarthy, Miranda Cook and Calleigh King will hold the first "Softball for a Cure" softball camp for girls entering grades 2-6.

Cost for the camp is $30 (due by June 8). Other donations would be appreciated, and all of the proceeds from the camp will benefit the American Stroke Association. (For information on the camp, call 903-746-1900).

Campers will receive a T-shirt along with learning hitting, bunting, outfield and base-running skills. They'll also work on sliding – using a tarp covered with soap and water – and play a simulated game. There will be a devotional at the beginning and end of the camp.

Mount, who is 16 and has been playing softball since she was three, makes the Energizer Bunny look like a slacker. I needed a nap after listening to the list of activities she participated in during the 2013-14 school year: softball, volleyball, basketball, cheerleading and five events in track and field.

She doesn't plan on slowing down anytime soon.

"It was just an idea I had," she said. "I love softball, and this is a way I can do something I like and raise some money for a good cause. I hope to do it every year. Maybe even when I go to college I can come back and do it."

Pretty neat stuff. I don't know about you, but the last thing I wanted to do when I was 16 - especially during the summer - was give up any of my "me time."

I've been playing sportswriter for 28 years. For every one kid I've wanted to grab by the shoulders, get in their face and scream "What the heck is wrong with you?" after watching them waste God-given talent on and off the field, I've written about hundreds who make the long, strange hours it takes to keep up with nearly 50 high schools worthwhile.

I believe most kids, given the chance, will do the right thing. Jayden Mount and her teammates are doing just that, and if they never get another hit, drive in another run, steal another base or strike out another batter, they deserve our applause.

And, I can guarantee you Mamaw is proud.

(Follow Jack Stallard on Twitter: <a href="" target="_blank">@lnjsports</a>)



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