Laird, Foster headed to all-star game
NATCHEZ — Most seniors who make the all-star game had that as a goal all along. Tory Laird, however, wasn’t even shooting for it.
The Adams County Christian School senior shortstop found out the weekend of Sept. 14 that she had been selected to the South squad for the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools All-Star game. Laird said she was “shocked and excited” to find out — especially since it wasn’t on her mind.
“There were so many people that could have gotten it, and it was me that got it, that’s what was shocking,” Laird said. “It wasn’t a goal of mine. It hadn’t even crossed my mind. That’s probably another reason I was shocked.”
Laird was one of 12 players from the South division of MAIS Double- and Triple-A classifications to be chosen for the South squad. She, along with ACCS head coach Forrest Foster, will head to Jackson Prep today to prepare for Wednesday’s matchup with the North. Foster was selected as one of the South’s coaches.
“It’s going to be amazing,” Laird said of having Foster as a coach. “I was so excited when he told me he’d coach and that I would have one more game with him.”
Foster said he was humbled to be selected, but he said he doesn’t anticipate doing much coaching while he’s in Jackson.
“I’m just going up there to help manage it,” Foster said. “They’re all so talented that they know what they’re doing. It’s going to be a pleasure to be out there. To be in the coach’s box with 12 extremely good softball players, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal.”
Laird said in hindsight she’s glad she didn’t make getting selected to the all-star team a specific goal coming into this season.
“I wasn’t worrying myself,” Laird said. “I just played how I could play, and I got it.”
Laird said she expects to see better competition — especially on the pitching side — in Wednesday’s game. Though she’ll be playing with the best players in the state, Foster said she wouldn’t have any problem rising to the challenge.
“She’s a very athletic kid who excels in whatever sport she plays,” Foster said. “She’s just a natural, and she inherited it from her mom and dad.”
Foster also said he’s enjoyed coaching Laird ever since she was in sixth grade and that she was a pleasure to work with.
“I’ve never heard anything negative come out of her mouth ever since I’ve had her,” Foster said. “You don’t run across those kinds of kids very often. That’s not to say we don’t have several at ACCS, but to coach one for that long without any problems is really, really rare.”
Also a standout basketball player for ACCS, Laird said it would be great to make the all-star game in basketball, too — but she’s not going to change her approach at all.
“I’m just going to play how I know to play,” Laird said. “I won’t worry too much about reaching that goal, but it would be an honor.”
Laird is the daughter of Judy Richards and Charlie Laird.