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STARKVILLE, Miss – Santa may not be coming for a couple more weeks, but the Mississippi State softball team played the role Monday in Brooke Dycus’ fourth-grade class at East Oktibbeha County Elementary School. The team and coaching staff purchased gifts on the wish list of all 17 kids in the class and delivered them to the giddy maroon-and-white-clad school children. Video and photos of the event can be found at MStateAthletics.com, Facebook.com/MStateSB and Twitter.com/MStateSB.
“In all the preparation that goes into being a champion on the field, we often take for granted how fortunate we are to have what we do as adults,” head coach Vann Stuedeman said. “It’s a big win when you can defeat your opponent on the field, but it’s a bigger win when you can make a difference in the lives of young people in our community.” Led by senior pitcher Misty Flesher, who is a teaching assistant in the class, the team arrived as the class burst into anticipation and excitement. After Coach Stuedeman spoke to the students about the importance of making good grades, the team and coaching staff served the pupils food and beverages. Following the Christmas-style feast, each player individually handed out multiple gifts to each child. The boys received MSU hats, Dan Mullen-signed footballs, batting gloves and t-shirts, while the girls in the room acquired dolls, shoes, jackets, shirts and more. Stuedeman and her team debut the new era of MSU softball on Thursday, Feb. 9, as the Bulldogs travel to Mobile, Ala., to take on South Alabama at 6 p.m. CT. Eight days later, MSU opens the home slate on Friday, Feb. 17, as the Maroon and White host SIU-Edwardsville at 5 p.m. CT in the opening game of the annual Bulldog Round-Robin.