Valliant’s Western Mussett – Player Spotlight Presented by McCurtain County National Bank

By Nick Hampton

The bond between Western Mussett and her father Tommy is one that has revolved around softball ever since she can remember.

“I grew up around ball fields all my life. I can’t remember a time that my dad wasn’t playing softball until the last few years when he’s slowed down a little,” said Western, a junior at Valliant where she’s currently hitting .460 while playing center field for the Lady Bulldogs.

But in addition to watching her father enjoy softball into his adult life, Western also has her dad as the assistant coach at Valliant as well as coaching her summer league team.

“She loves softball and I’ve played forever on adult leagues. There are times when we turn off softball and just do things around the farm. But most of the time we are constantly analyzing the last game or the last at-bat. She’s very methodical about everything she does,” said dad.

In addition to fast and slow pitch softball, Western is also in FFA, a member of the National Honor Society and plays basketball. You might think that given her dedication to softball, asking whether she prefers basketball or softball would be a silly question. But her answer was a little hesitant.

“I guess I do like softball better but I’m also very fond of basketball. I think I probably like softball more just because I’m better at it,” said Mussett.

She is good enough at it that as a junior she was invited to a special camp over the Labor Day weekend at the University of New Mexico as colleges start taking notice of her skills. Western is the baby of the family so in addition to her father, she had an older brother and two older sisters that she looked up to as a youngster.

As far as the fast pitch season at hand, assistant coach (and dad) Tommy looks ahead.

“We’re young. That’s one reason Western is in the outfield this year although she can play several positions. We have youngsters in left and right field and needed her in center to anchor things out there. We struggled offensively early on but I think we’re starting to come around.”

Indeed they are, as they are off to a 12-5 start through August.

And about that first name – Western? Maybe a few too many Saturday double features at the movies for mom?

“She found the name in a book and thought it was a really cool name and my dad picked my middle name which is Sky,” chuckled the girl with the patience of someone who has probably been asked  that question a thousand times.