GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Harrison Central Red Rebelettes featured different players, but the same result on the way to another 6A softball state championship.
Harrison Central (28-4) returned to the coast Saturday to a championship parade outside the high school. The Red Rebelettes rolled through South Panola Thursday and Friday to help head coach Jimmy Parker and assistant coach Sherri Davis win their fourth championship overall.
Those two have been in charge of the Harrison Central team since its inception in the mid-1990s.
"As far as our teams [go], I don't like to compare them becaus they're all different," said Parker, who also won a state championship in 2002. "They all have different people on them, but one thing we have constant here is tradition. They pass it from one class to another."
The class of 2016 featured three players on Harrison Central's roster. They were sophomores and juniors when the Red Rebelettes took down Madison Central the previous two years in the state championship.
Outfielder Simone McKinney was the catalyst to the offense, while Madison Burge is a standout pitcher and first baseman. Both of them will play for Jones County Junior College in hopes of keeping that winning tradition alive at the next level.
"I knew for a fact that Burge and I can't go separate ways," said McKinney, who hit .594 as Harrison Central's leadoff hitter this season. "We've been together for so long and it's just really hard for us to separate."
Chemistry is usually a main characteristic of a championship-winning team, but Harrison Central's softball team stuck together on and off the field, whether it's at school or at friendship-building events.
"I moved from Ocean Springs to [Gulfport] and I didn't know anybody," said senior utility player Megan Hammontree. "I moved up here to softball and I made 20 best friends. They're like my sisters and everything I've ever wanted."
The Red Rebelettes are poised to make at least a couple more runs at a 6A title, but that just means they have the biggest targets on their back.
Desirea Lindsey hit ninth in the batting order her sophomore year before being bumped up to the No. 2 slot this season. She hit .466 her junior season and will be one of four seniors on the 2017 roster.
Burge led the team with a 0.61 earned run average, but sophomore Kristen Cade will now take over as the ace of the staff. She went 13-2 with a 0.82 ERA this past season.