Andy Kirk has already made a stellar reputation for himself in Union County. Leading West Union softball to a state title and working with East Union last school year, Kirk moved up in the coaching ranks this year, taking over the fairly young softball program at Itawamba Community College.
What Kirk has done in only one year is tremendous, as the Lady Indians won the North Division of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) with an overall record of 33-10, 22-2 in division play.
Earlier this week, Kirk was on hand at his last place of employment, East Union, where he signed Lady Urchin standout Rachel Elder.
“We’re excited to get another Union County girl to come over,” he said of Elder.
“She’s coming from a good program, and she’s the ultimate student athlete. She’s very versatile and we know we won’t have any problems with her.”
The other Union County athlete Kirk spoke of was West Union’s Danielle Taylor, who is one of four pitchers for ICC that is in the top 24 in earned run average in the nation. Only a freshman, Kirk is excited about the potential Taylor has.
“As a freshman, she probably hasn’t gotten all of the innings that she would like to, but we’ve had some really dominant pitchers,” he said.
“She’s picked up some good innings, and she’s been instrumental in leading the girls, doing her role.”
This week, the Lady Indians host the state tournament for only the second time in school history. The eight-team, single elimination tournament started on Thursday, and the Lady Indians have already earned a spot in next week’s regional tournament at Clinton. Should ICC find success there, finishing as one of the top two teams, the Lady Indians would move on to the national tournament.
Kirk hopes for even more success in the future as the MACJC has opened up recruiting for all of the schools, giving each the opportunity to pursue players from any part of the state. Because of that advantage, Kirk is able to return to Union County to recruit players, like Taylor and Elder, as well as other standouts from throughout the state.
“Opening up the state has been huge. We have a very good district where we’re from, but it’s not as strong this year,” Kirk said. “So far, we’ve only signed one from our district, and we may sign a couple more, but we’re looking throughout the state and are excited to show everyone in the state what ICC has to offer, academically and athletically.”
ICC opened the softball state tournament against Pearl River on Thursday. To keep up with the Lady Indians and all of Itawamba’s athletics online, visit www.iccms.edu or on Twitter: @ICC_Athletics.