Sister act keys BHS Lady Bears in 2004

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 31, 2004

JONESVILLE, La. &045; When sisters Shonda and Glynda Butts are cheek-to-cheek, it’s downright Brady Bunch-ish.

Lots of overflowing compliments &045; &uot;you look cute&uot; being a favorite &045; whole-hearted laughs, pearly white smiles and unanimous agreements.

Thirteen months separate the two, yet there are no traces attractive to Jerry Springer or Maury Povich.

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That is no longer, says the Block High School fast-pitch softball battery who highlights the Democrat’s 2004 All-Metro first team.

&uot;When we were young, we fought so much at anything. ‘She’s looking at me. She’s in my space,’&uot; Glynda parrots in a soprano voice. &uot;We grew out of it.&uot;

The two have shared a room in tight quarters for the better part of their youthful lives, making it simple for a few claws to pop out every now and then.

However, it’s been a walk in the park ever since Shonda, 18, began catching younger sister Glynda, 16, in the late 1990s.

This past season the two were instrumental in guiding the Bears to a 16-7-1 record, another District 4-1A title and a trip to the regional round of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class 1A playoffs.

At the plate Shonda batted a ridiculous .425 with an equally sick .625 on base percentage. Behind the dish, she threw out better than 90 percent of opponents’ trying to steal bases.

&uot;(Shonda) sees the batter clearer than anyone else,&uot; Glynda says. &uot;She knows how to strike people out. She really motivates me. She knows what to say to make me chill out.&uot;

In the circle, Glynda was commanding. In 115 innings, the junior mowed down 130 batters, yielded 16 walks and maintained a 1.20 ERA.

Her importance to the Bears is evident from her 15-7-1 record.

&uot;She brings the ball,&uot; Shonda says of her younger sibling. &uot;She’s probably the best I’ve ever caught for. She gives 110 percent when she’s out there and hits her spots.&uot;

This past season was extra special to the duo since it was Shonda’s swan song, and likely the last time both will play on the same fast-pitch team together other than summer league. Neither gave much consideration about their final moments together on the diamond while they were between the white chalk.

However, on rides home and throughout the day, with plastic helmets and aluminum bats stashed away and sweat-stained uniforms tumbling on spin cycle, the sobering illusion became a reality.

&uot;We were in denial for a while,&uot; says Shonda, who jokes about chopping her brunette mane and altering her birth certificate in order to play during Glynda’s final year.

&uot;It’s gonna be weird staring behind the plate and not seeing (Shonda),&uot; Glynda says. &uot;That’s the way it’s been for so long. It’s gonna be hard to replace her.&uot;

Glynda plans on following big sister’s footsteps to the University of Louisiana-Monroe in the fall of 2005.

While both pledged their devotion to classes and books in college, they never ruled out the possibility of trying to walk onto the Indians’ softball program.

&uot;It’d be a lot of fun,&uot; Glynda says.

&uot;It’s definitely a possibility,&uot; Shonda says, but then jokes, &uot;and we could play in the Olympics in our spare time.&uot;

The two tend to not mix pleasure with pleasure; that is to say softball is a mute topic after games and practices wind down.

Mostly, Shonda, an oracle at 18, lectures little sister on the roller coaster ride that is life.

&uot;I get so many speeches. She tries to make me be a good person,&uot; Glynda says. &uot;She tells me the right things to do.&uot;

Shonda quick interjects: &uot;My pearls of wisdom. But really I have to watch myself and not mess up because I know she’ll bring it up later. I work hard at being good.&uot;

Joining the sisters on the first team are Vidalia junior pitcher Christy Corley (16-11, 142 Ks, 165 IP) who led the Vikings back to the Class 2A playoffs in what was thought to be a rebuilding season.

Fellow Viking Emily Raley (.370 BA) mans second base, while Natchez High first baseman Tracy Davis sits at first.

MPSA slow-pitch All-Star shortstop April Boyd (.445 BA. two HRs, six doubles) of Adams Christian and MPSA fast-pitch All-District 4-AA third baseman Misty Stelly completes the infield.

Vidalia gets its third first-team member as outfielder Ashley Prince (.297 BA, 17 RBIs) is joined by Cathedral’s Alex Roberts (.400 BA) and Natchez High’s Ashley Mitchell.