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Buntin gives NE third straight honor
by Blake D. Long
Apr 08, 2014 | 50 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BOONEVILLE -- Chelsea Buntin has helped the Northeast Mississippi Community College softball pitching staff capture a trifecta of distinguished awards.

Buntin was tabbed as the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC)/JucoWeekly Pitcher of the Week for games played March 31-April 6.

“As of late, anytime she’s been on the mound we’ve had an opportunity because she’s held opponents down in hits and runs,” said Tigers head coach Jody Long. “That’s just a testament to the type of kid she is. She competes in the classroom, on the field and in life.”

The left-hander got the upper hand in a pitchers duel against nationally ranked Itawamba Community College during the opening contest of a MACJC North Division doubleheader.

Buntin struck out only two batters, but scattered nine groundouts and 10 flyouts to notch her seventh victory of the season in a 1-0 decision over the Indians.

She did not walk a batter in a contest in which she started in the circle for the third time this year. Buntin went the distance for her team-high seventh complete game of the campaign.

The Glen native allowed then-No. 19 Itawamba to string together only two hits. The Indians did not move a runner past second base in the entire matchup.

Itawamba’s biggest threat against Buntin came in the fourth inning when Kory Watterson singled and stole second with one out. But the freshman got Ashley Langford to strikeout swinging and Arriann Henry to groundout to avoid any damage.

Buntin retired 11 straight Indians, beginning with Langford’s punch out, to end the contest. She threw a total of 86 pitches, 64 percent of them for strikes.

It was the third time this year that a conference opponent did not touch the scoreboard against Buntin. Her trio of shutouts against league competition is third best among all athletes in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

“She knew she had her defense behind her so that gave her the confidence to throw her pitches where she needed to,” Northeast pitching coach Jaisa Emerson said. “She didn’t have to try to overthrow. She just relaxed and did a wonderful job.”

Buntin currently holds a 2.97 earned run average (ERA) in a team-high 92 innings on the rubber. She has struck out 85 batters so far this season, which ranks second in the MACJC.

“I’m kinda speechless. I don’t know what to say,” said Buntin. “It feels really good. We just keep going up. We continue to come together and it’s awesome.”

The Alcorn Central High School product is also a top-notch athlete at the plate. She has a .394 batting average and .471 on-base percentage, which are both bests for any Tiger with more than 10 at bats.

Buntin has walked 14 times, second most on the squad, with eight doubles, one triple and 19 RBIs from the leadoff position in the lineup.

It is the third week in a row for a Northeast hurler to garner recognition by the league office. Bianca Chagolla and Buntin both received this illustrious distinction during that time.

Buntin will now be considered for honors by the NJCAA, which announces its nationwide awards on Wednesday.

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