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Standing above the rest
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Markea Sheppard has been a constant for Newton's softball team this season. She went 3-for-3 in her team’s victory over M.L. King in last week’s regional playoffs and the Lady Rams are poised to make a run in the Class AAAAA South sectionals beginning Friday.

Her performance as well as all around play so far in 2008 has earned Sheppard the Covington News/Johnny’s Pizza Prep Athlete of the Week.

"We started off kind of rough," Sheppard said. "We just had to come together as a team. As we came together, we started to be successful throughout the season and because of that success, we ended on a good note. It’s actually been a fun season."

Newton relies on Sheppard to get things started as she hits second in the lineup. The second-year sophomore also possesses a solid glove at shortstop and it’s that defense that she says has helped her team the most.

"The overall defense has been the difference," Sheppard said. "We have the pitching and catchers and as long as we are pitching and playing well, it’s tough for the other team to score."

Sheppard said she will continue to work on softball even after the season is over. She is undecided about whether she will play basketball this year and hopes to improve on the diamond enough to maybe get a chance to play at Florida A & M University.

"I’m trying to get scholarships," Sheppard said. "But I really want to go to FAMU. I plan to play travel ball and I am getting looks from Mississippi Valley State and Georgia Southern. I am always playing my hardest because you never know who is watching."