From the Sidelines: MMI quietly makes big strides

Published 6:50 pm Tuesday, May 18, 2010

They are still kind of under the radar, but Joe Guthrie and Brittany McGee are making great strides toward making a major impact on the softball landscape of the Black Belt area.

Guthrie got the softball program at Marion Military Institute going just a couple of years ago and brought McGee on to help him last year. Since then, the pair has begun beating a path from Marengo County to Marion.

They signed Sara Davis prior to this season and then landed the former Demopolis High standout at Delta State with a fresh commitment. But Davis is just one of 15 MMI players to obtain softball offers from four-year schools this year. She’ll make the trip to Delta State along with teammates Lauren Lewis (Faith Academy) and Raina Stiffler (Forrest HS, Jacksonville, Fla.). Former Patrician Academy star Allie Roach will leave MMI bound for UWA this fall.

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Guthrie and McGee, a former Demopolis High and UWA star, have also helped in the four-year signings of players from Florida, Georgia and Washington.

The coaching tandem has also acknowledged its commitment to signing players from its immediate area.

Guthrie spent a chunk of his time in Troy two weekends ago, fixated on a young Demopolis softball team. He and McGee have scouted that program and have expressed marked interest in some Marengo Academy players.

But Guthrie and McGee understand the difficulty of blazing trails and building programs, especially ones that exist at militaristic junior colleges in rural west Alabama.

So they have exerted incredible amounts of energy to promote the program in Demopolis and surrounding areas. Their efforts have seen them do everything from playing games at Demopolis’ Sports-Plex to hosting a youth camp in the City of the People. That clinic saw 20 MMI softball players spend several hours with girls aged four to seven in an effort to further the girls’ skills and Marion Military’s reputation.

The team went 30-26 in its second season, doing a little bit more to further its reputation in the immediate area and the Southeast as a whole.

With the kind of work ethic they exert, their commitment to the under-appreciated, scarcely-recruited talent in Marengo County and surrounding areas and the on-field success of MMI, Guthrie and McGee may quietly be building a junior college juggernaut just a little bit down the road. And getting 15 girls on the same team offers from four-year schools doesn’t hurt that cause either.