It is a safe bet to say that Quitman fifth grader Breanna Lamkin celebrated the time between Christmas and New Year’s Day differently from anyone else in Jackson Parish. Instead of the usual way of enjoying the time away from school by waking up late and lounging around the house, Lamkin was in Viera, Florida competing in a national United State Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) fast-pitch softball tournament for 11 and 12 year old girls.
Not only did the daughter of Brandon and Jeanna Lamkin compete, she played brilliantly over the final four days of the year. So good in fact that she was named the team tournament MVP, as in Most Valuable Pitcher, after leading her Stocking Stuffers team comprised of top youth athletes from Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Arkansas to a national runner-up finish.
Lamkin, who plays travel ball with Louisiana Gunsmoke out of Ruston and is a member of the Jackson Parish Recreation Department summer softball league, allowed only six earned in seven games on the hill. Even more impressive she didn’t walk a single batter all tournament, something that is almost unheard of in pre-teen competition.
The Stocking Stuffers earned their place as one of the final eight teams to qualify for the National Title Tournament by going 3-1-1 in pool play after opening with a 10-10 tie with the Northeast representative Candy Canes and beating the Midwest representative Silent Knights 6-1. That was followed by their only loss of pool play which came at the hands of eventual tournament champion Jingle Bells of the South Region by an 11-5 margin. This set up a must win situation to qualify as one of the final eight teams that would compete for the national championship. The Stocking Stuffers cruised 11-3 past the Northeast region representative, Grinch Gang, to easily advance.
Seeded 4th, the Stocking Stuffers won the single elimination tourney opener by taking a 6-4 victory over the #5 seed Little Helpers that was one of two teams in the final eight representing the Southeast Region. Next up was the #1 seed Elves Belles of the Great Lakes region. Lamkin and company pulled off the upset of the tournament favorite in shocking fashion by winning by an impressive 13-1 margin.
That set up a championship matchup with the team that had given the South Region rep their only loss in pool play. It was a much closer game this time around but in the end the Jingle Bells, who had gotten the #3 seed, prevailed once again by a score of 4-2 to claim the crown.