For the past four years, Raymond Haymon has had the opportunity to watch Stephanie Averitt develop into a fantastic leadoff hitter for his Simpson Lady Broncos.


For the past four years, Raymond Haymon has had the opportunity to watch Stephanie Averitt develop into a fantastic leadoff hitter for his Simpson Lady Broncos.
"It's uncanny," Haymon said. "If Stephanie makes contact, she's very hard to get out. She gets on base about 70 percent of the time and if she got on, I wasn't afraid to send her."
And with over 200 stolen bases in her career, including in excess of 60 this year, it's no wonder why Averitt was able to swipe the top honor on the all-Vernon Parish Softball team, being chosen as the Most Valuable Player in the parish for the year 2011.
After batting well over .500 a year ago for the Lady Broncos, who reached the quarterfinals in 2010 before falling to Avoyelles Public Charter, Averitt was even more impressive this year, especially in district play.
Averitt batted an impressive .612 in District 5-B games this past season, stealing 19 bases in just 10 games, leading the Lady Broncos to a second-place finish in the league and the No. 3 seed in the Class B state tournament.
And if she got on base, Averitt usually scored as well, leading the Lady Broncos in runs scored once again.
"She is just so very, very quick," Haymon said. "From first to second base, it only took her about 2.1 seconds to get there. Let's just say she can flat move. She is fast and I can only remember her getting thrown out stealing a couple of times this year."
Not only did that speed allow the Lady Broncos to put some runs on the board and steal bases, but it also gave Haymon the ability to play the lines with his left and right fielders with Averitt in center.
"Because she was so fast and could cover a lot of ground, we could play our left and right fielders more on the line," Haymon said. "And here's something else, Stephanie has a very strong arm and could throw the ball home from anywhere in the outfield. She has such a strong arm."
So needless to say, with Averitt graduating last Sunday from Simpson, Haymon has quite the task on his hands.
"She's going to be very hard to replace, both at the leadoff spot and defensively," Haymon said of Averitt. "Plus, Stephanie gave us some outstanding leadership for our team. She had a positive attitude and wanted to become a better player day in and day out. She was that way every day. She worked hard, but had a lot of fun at the same time."
Averitt, who was a Class B all-state selection in 2010 and a candidate again this year, will be going to Northwestern State University in the fall, where she plans to try and walk on to the softball team.
She is the daughter of Gary and Tina Averitt.