Springfield's journey: Former East Webster player enjoys every stop

Bailie Springfield swings bat for Itawamba Community College.
Staff Writer

It has been quite the eventful few years for Bailie Springfield filled with new places and new faces along the way.

Springfield came to Cumberland to play most of her high school career with the East Webster Lady Wolverines after transferring from South Lamar in Alabama. She won five state championships between basketball and softball during her career, was a multiple-time all-state member and Area Player of the Year.

College came calling at Delta State where Springfield enjoyed a stellar freshman year. The school in Cleveland, however, just wasn’t the right fit as she decided to transfer to Itawamba Community College for her sophomore year.

“Going to ICC was probably the best thing I could have done,” Springfield said. “Coach (Andy) Kirk helped me through the season and with school. The girls were amazing. It was scary, but I felt like it was God’s plan. I knew some of the girls on the team and they loved it.”

Former East Webster All-Area standout Mamie Hollenhead was one of the players on the team and she became Springfield’s best friend even before the two played together in Cumberland. Hollenhead enjoyed an All-American career at ICC before giving up softball.

Springfield might not be far off from All-American honors herself.

Her one season in Fulton was impressive as she helped the Lady Indians to one of their best seasons in school history. ICC finished with a school-record 41 wins and won the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges regular season championship. It hosted the region tournament before bowing out, but it was a year to remember for Springfield.

In 2018, Springfield became the school record holder in wins with her 20-5 season and 1.54 ERA. She struck out 123 batters along the way, but also had a big year at the plate with a .296 average, 21 RBI, 11 doubles, three triples and two home runs.

Over the course of the season, Springfield became the National Junior College Athletic Association Pitcher of the Week on two different occasions and the MACJC Pitcher of the Week three times. When the dust settled, she was the MACJC Pitcher of the Year for the state of Mississippi.

It was a year that Springfield will never forget and she credits Kirk for making her an even better player than when she arrived.

“I actually got better under coach Kirk and he added some new pitches to my arsenal that’s made me even more effective,” Springfield said. “I was shocked at how good the talent was that we faced. The hitters are just as good as D-2 so it was tough going up against Pearl River and Jones and some of those teams.”

The work that Springfield put in and the success that followed drew the attention of colleges on the next level. She heard from West Alabama, William Carey, Mississippi College and others, but her final decision came down to Louisiana Monroe and Southern Miss.

In the end, Springfield decided to commit to the Golden Eagles and make Hattiesburg home the next two seasons.

“It was really hard but Southern Miss really stood out and I had to go with my gut,” Springfield said of that decision. “Coach (Wendy Hogue) had such good morals and is trying to build things the right way. The pitching coach’s dad was my pitching coach until I was 14-years-old. They all just made me feel like part of the family.”

Speaking of family, the people in Webster County feel like they were first. Springfield called her time with the Lady Wolverines “the best four years of her life” and she still thinks back on her memories in maroon and white often.

When she arrived in Cumberland current coach Lee Berryhill was starting his run of championships and she was at the forefront. Berryhill counted himself lucky to have coached Berryhill and he’s following her career on to Hattiesburg. He has no doubt she’ll do big things there too.

Through all of the moves to different locations and playing for different things, the one thing that stays the same for Springfield is she's a winner.

“I’m proud for her getting an opportunity to further her career,” Berryhill said. “She works very hard and is very competitive, which gives her a chance to play on that level with the best. I think beyond her talent, her main attribute that she has is that she’s so competitive. She has that will to win and competes very hard.”