Filed By Kelley Smiddie
Perhaps the most recent development in the evolution of girls’ fastpitch softball has been the emergence of the all-around player.
Baseball gave us the term “five-tool player” to describe the athlete that excels at hitting, hitting for power, running, throwing and catching in that sport.
The majority of high school softball players don’t fit this category. Most that earn their way into a starting lineup do so because they do a particular thing well.
There are some who may be dominant in a couple of areas, such as pitching and hitting, but may not be a fast runner or a standout with the glove.
When it comes to softball players from this area, University of Tennessee freshman Lillian Hammond was a trailblazer in the all-around category. Throughout Hammond’s career at GPS, coach Susan Crownover batted her standout center-fielder leadoff at times because of her speed, and in the middle of the order at times because of her power.
As the next classes come along, we’ll see an increase in the multi-faceted player. Actually, we are already.
Below are our top three among the current crop that.
3. Soddy-Daisy senior Kacy Cooper: The only major offensive category she leads the Lady Trojans in is triples. Her five actually leads the area. She’s second on her team in just about everything else —; a .440 batting average, 17 runs scored, 10 stolen bases and six doubles. She’s third in RBIs with 14. She’s also a defensive whiz who doesn’t have the strongest throwing arm in town, but doesn’t need it at second base. Her arm is plenty strong enough to make relay throws from the shallow outfield to home or third, and it’s accurate.
2. GPS sophomore Kamri Chester: What a difference a year as made. She has gone from a bottom-of-the-order batter to a catalyst in the middle of the lineup. She leads the Bruisers with a .430 average, 15 extra-base hits, six home runs, 28 RBIs and six stolen bases. She has also scored 21 runs. She has made the move from right field to center and patrols her position from alley to alley. Good luck trying to score from second base on a single up the middle to her.
1. Boyd-Buchanan senior Brittany Eason: She has been on a power tear of late for the Lady Bucs, hitting five of her six home runs in a three-game span. She had four in a doubleheader, including three in one game. She’s batting a team-high .577 and is the team’s top run-producer with 28 driven in and 26 scored. She also leads her team with four triples and eight doubles, and she has five stolen bases. Most of her solid glovework is done on the left side of the Lady Bucs’ infield, but coach Jeff Stone hasn’t hesitated to put her in the outfield or behind the plate when the need arises.
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Extended versions of the Chattanooga area’s high school statistics can be found on this website. Click on the “Sports” icon. From there, click on the “Prep stats” icon.