RINGGOLD, Ga. - Olivia Tamewitz had a choice: Wait and see if her dream of playing softball in the Southeastern Conference would still work out or be proactive and choose a different path.
Tamewitz, the Heritage High School outfielder who committed to Mississippi this past year as a 10th-grader, has changed her commitment to Kennesaw State University after Ole Miss recently fired coach Windy Thees. Tamewitz felt she would not fit in with the offensive approach of new coach Mike Smith and reopened her recruiting two weeks ago. Following a visit to Kennesaw State, she committed to coach Wes Holly.
"Kennesaw is close -- but not too close -- and the program is really good," Tamewitz said. "I did not want to wait because Division I scholarships are hard to get, and I just felt more comfortable at Kennesaw."
Tamewitz batted .513 this past season after hitting .475 as a freshman. In her two seasons she's totaled 98 runs scored and 80 stolen bases as the Generals' leadoff hitter. Heritage coach Steve Chattin believes the decision to decommit from Ole Miss was the right one.
"After the new staff was hired they've had virtually no contact with Olivia, and the new coach has a history of having more of a power-hitting style of teams," Chattin said. "They did not pull her scholarship, but it was understood that all of the recruits were going to be re-evaluated. As soon as she decommitted she heard from several schools -- that's how impactful of a player she is."
Kennesaw, 24-29 this past season, has recruited the Chattanooga/Northwest Georgia area aggressively in recent years, and two of the Owls' incoming freshmen are Ringgold's Devan Brown and Baylor's Noelle Winkles. Tamewitz will be the first Heritage player to suit up for the Marietta school.
"Tory Acheson, one of Coach Holly's assistant coaches, recruited us frequently when he was head coach at Tennessee Tech, and hopefully Olivia's commitment to Kennesaw will open up the recruitment of younger Generals to the Owls," Chattin said.
Ole Miss fired Thees after three seasons and a 69-94 overall record that included only 13 wins against SEC opponents.
Southeast hires Shields
Southeast Whitfield has hired Aubrey Shields as its new softball coach. The Valley Head (Ala.) High School graduate replaces Kelley Barton, who resigned after two seasons and a 18-35 record. This will be the first head coaching job for Shields, who played one season at Covenant College before transferring to UTC, where she did not play.
Contact Lindsey Young at email@example.com or at 423-757-6296.