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Veteran leadership, new talent key to BPC softball success in 2007
|The 2007 Lady Barons softball team. (Photo by Hayley Boisseau)
MOUNT VERNON – A strong combination of veteran leadership and fresh talent will be the key to success for the Brewton-Parker College women’s softball team in 2007, said head coach Jason Bryant.
“We finished the season strong last year, defeating what turned out to be some of the top teams in our conference,” said Bryant. “If our veterans can take the lessons learned last season and provide leadership to the many new faces joining us this year, Brewton-Parker softball looks to be as competitive as ever.”
Among those expected to play a leadership role this season are seniors Alease Connell (third base – Nashville, Ga.), Keena Hallman (pitcher – Dalton), and Lindsey Hamrick (all-conference/team captain/second base – Hiram).
“Lindsey will be heavily depended on to bring leadership, stability, and continued excellence on the field,” said Bryant. “She is one of the best technical hitters I’ve seen. Alease is one of the toughest kids I have ever coached. She has led the team in home runs for the past three seasons and has the capability of turning a game on each at bat. Keena looks to rebound from an injury plagued junior season and has the capability to be one of the best pitchers in the conference.”
Bryant is also looking for returning juniors Ashley Beecher (catcher – Hazlehurst), Brittney Euler (right field – Hiram), Courtney Payne (all-conference/first base – Cartersville), and Meegan Wilmot (pitcher – Daytona Beach, Fla.) to have an impact.
“Ashley is fast and gives us a solid bat in the middle of our lineup. She has one of the strongest throwing arms in the conference,” Bryant said. “Brittney has proven to be one of the best all around players in the conference. She can really hit and plays right field well.”
“We feel Courtney is just beginning her dominance as a hitter. She has the ability to hit for a high average and to have tremendous slugging percentage numbers as well,” he continued. “Meegan posted the best pitching numbers for us last season. We expect her to be focused and dominant for us this year.”
Beecher, who will see additional playing time as an outfielder, will have competition at the catcher position from sophomores Rachel Nutter (Jonesboro) and Sarah McPherson (Washington).
“Rachel is a tremendous hitter and a very good base runner. She handles the pitching staff as well as anyone,” said Bryant. “Sarah is fast becoming a solid hitter, has a strong arm and continues to progress in the handling of pitches.”
In addition to his returning players, Bryant welcomes a crop of junior college transfers and a talented freshman class – both will be expected to play a vital role in the Lady Barons’ success.
The junior college transfers include juniors Jennifer Mixon (outfield – Ivey) and Krissy Reill (pitcher – Richmond Hill). The freshman class includes Amanda Averett (outfield – Dublin), Leah Bennett (pitcher – Metter), Michelle Clark (utility – Swainsboro), Bridget Ingram (outfield – Rome), Brittany Smiley (shortstop – Vidalia), and Kelli Wilson (utility – Alma).
The Lady Barons (3-1, 0-0 SSAC) opened the season by participating in the Claflin College Softball Tournament Feb. 2-3 in Orangeburg, S.C. In Friday’s first game, Leah Bennett struck out ten while only giving up two hits as the Lady Barons defeated Benedict College, 4-0. In the second game, despite a good pitching performance from Meegan Wilmot, BPC couldn’t overcome mistakes on defense and was shut out by USC-Aiken, 9-0.
In Saturday’s first game, Keena Hallman struck out four and walked none in three innings as the Lady Barons routed Paine College, 15-0. The final game of the tournament saw Krissy Reill pitch seven strong innings while driving in the winning run as BPC edged Lees-McRae College, 5-3.
The team then traveled to Albany State University Feb. 5. The Lady Barons’ home opener is Feb. 9 against Edward Waters College. The first pitch is at 2 p.m.