By DAVID GRAVELY
SWT Sports Editor
While most students are enjoying their summer breaks before heading back to school or starting college, three recent Pulaski County High School graduates spent part of last week playing in their last high school games as participants in the Virginia High School Coach’s Association All-Star games held in northern Virginia.
In softball, Pulaski County was represented by infielder Sara Wright.
Wright played for the West team, which made a bit of history with their 11-8, come from behind win over the East team. The win was the first for the West team in 22 years. It was also the highest scoring softball game in the history of the event. Finally, Wright made a bit of history for herself and Pulaski, as she is the first Lady Cougar to be selected to play in the event since Pulaski County began competing in softball.
Finding themselves trailing late in the contest, the West team exploded for five runs in the sixth inning to take the lead and never look back. With the West team up by the 11-8 margin, the game was ended due to lightning.
While Wright normally plays first base, in this game she held down the third base position. Always the competitor, she finished batting .500, ripping a double and committing no errors at her new position.
James River graduate Jenna Sprinkle led the way for the West with two hits and an RBI.
Two recent Pulaski graduates also represented the Cougars in the football All-Star game, with James King and Ian Calfee both playing on the defensive side for the West team. Both players earned starting spots as defensive tackles, and both finished the game with several tackles. The game was held at Christopher Newport University in Darling Stadium.
Calfee, who will be attending Emory and Henry College in the fall as a member of the Wasps, had a sack for a loss.
“It was really fun,” said Calfee. “I met a lot of my new teammates that will be going to Emory and Henry, and we (Calfee and King) both got to start at defensive tackle.”
King, who will be playing his college football for VMI, was selected as the Alger Pugh Defensive MVP for the West squad. He finished the contest with seven tackles, one for a loss, and several disrupted plays in the backfield.
“It was a good experience,” said King. “There’s nothing like getting to compete with some of the best players in the state. You get the opportunity to work with some great people throughout the week.”
The East team started the scoring on a 33-yard run, but the West team responded immediately. The East team put together another scoring drive, taking a 14-7 lead into the halftime break. The West team earned a safety against the East to start the second half scoring, but the East squad scored three touchdowns to put the game out of reach. The West squad scored the final points of the game on a three-yard pass to Floyd County player Cole Worrell, putting the final score at 35-16 for the East team.
The East squad out gained the West team 351 yards to 243 yards. This will be the final year, after 21 straight seasons, that the game will be held in the Newport News area. The games will be held in Lynchburg for the next three seasons.
Other local area players who participated in the game include Daniel Hamm of Fort Chiswell, Reid Sturgill of Chilhowie, Isaac Baltazar of George Wythe, De’Quan Green-Gause of Christiansburg, Demetreus Ferebee of Northside, Curtis Fridley of Rockbridge County, Roger Woody of Bassett, and Cole Worrell of Floyd County.