Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How the Vol State Softball Team Took Tragedy to Triumph

This softball season the Vol State team started out with a fantastic group. However, they hit some serious challenges soon after they got rolling. Right fielder Allyson Grooms, who is affectionately called Lil’ Bit by friends, was a solid player across the board and held an important position on the hitting lineup. She was injured running to first base playing a game against Chattanooga.

“I tore my ACL the First game we played Chat at home,” said Grooms. “We won 9-8 at home, I made it to base and then somebody had to finish running for me, and my run scored and we won.”

The rest of the team had to change the way they played. “We leaned on her a lot,” said Freshman Whitney Ford. “She was in the second hole and batting really good and when she got hurt I had to move up into her spot. It put a lot of pressure on me and I had to really step up my game.”

But instead of throwing in the towel the veteran player settled into a leadership role from the dugout.

“Lil’ Bit is still in the dugout providing the team with her leadership skills," said Athletic Director Bobby Hudson. "She is a quality individual and has been a tremendous help. To make it to the Nationals, all the pieces have got to fall into place. We are excited and can’t wait till they play these games.”

When asked what made the team different this year Grooms responded, “We have more speed and we have come together. Basically each individual has their own unique style that adds to the magic of this team. I am excited but it kills me that I can’t be there for them. I take it day by day, but I am really here for moral support.”

You can see these girls rally around each other. Katie Pfost is has been playing softball since she was eight years old.

“I was actually was taking a maymester class and I dropped and rescheduled it because I was so stressed out. I really want to focus on one thing and to me this to me was most important.” Pfost said, “I love coach Lynn. He is the best thing that ever happened to me. He gives a lot of good quotes to encourage us.”

Erica Malone as the secretary over the athletic division has been busy making travel arrangements and is going with the team to make sure everything runs smoothly.

"They are good girls! I have been here since 1987, and this is the first time a team has pulled together like this. They do stuff together like a little family.” Malone smiled as she added, “I walked in one morning, and they had the whole locker room decorated, and had gifts for all the seniors. As long as I have been here I have never seen that done before. I think our chances in the Nationals are great. I hope they get out there and play hard like they did here. They played to the point of exhaustion last week and showed they can do it.”

Head Coach Johnny Lynn has been looking forward to this opportunity for eighteen years. “This is good because we have got so many freshmen. We have great leadership and Katie Pfost is one of the best pitchers in America and she is a great hitter too.” Lynn also said, “You got to be a close team to be able to do what we did last week, and that should give them confidence going into the national tournament.”

The Vol State softball team plays their first game of the National Championship tournament on Thursday at 3pm Vol State time. We'll have an update on the blog on Friday. Meanwhile, if you want to watch or listen live you can visit this web page.

To keep up with the schedule and track scores visit the NJCAA page.

Photographs by Stacy Womelduff

Volunteer State Community College

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