Union High School's Averi Pender saw plenty of playing time at shortstop this past weekend while playing in the Mississippi High School fast-pitch all-star game.

Pender was on the South team and played in the game for 1A-2A-3A schools. And while the South was swept by the North, Pender said she enjoyed the experience.

"It was a lot of fun," Pender said. "I got to play with a girl from Enterprise and it was fun being on her team just once."

The game is sponsored by the Mississippi Association of Coaches and spotlights the state's top upcoming seniors. It was held at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville.

Pender spent most of her playing time in at shortstop and played an inning in the outfield.

"We got there Thursday," Pender said. "We practiced Thursday night at South Jones and Friday morning at Jones."

Pender said she enjoyed getting to know different players, and now she is looking forward to playing her senior season at Union. It starts with slow-pitch at the start of school in August and concludes with fast-pitch in the spring.

The Union Lady Yellowjackets made a lot of progress last season and advanced in the state playoffs to the second round. Pender said she is looking for more.

"We are getting better," Pender said. "We have had a lot of young players who had to play in the past couple of seasons. But now they have some experience and we are getting better. We are looking forward to the upcoming season."
Pender plays shortstop and pitches some for Union.