By Chris McCarthy/Editor
Jamie McGuire has literally slugged her way to a college athletic scholarship.
On Jan. 29, the Glencoe High School senior catcher agreed to play softball for the next two years at Southern Union Co-mmunity College.
A member of the Lady Yellow Jacket varsity since her seventh grade season, McGuire said that she was sold on Southern Union after her visit to the school’s Wadley campus.
“I had a lot of interest from other schools, but it just felt home once I got there. I’ve wanted to play college softball ever since I was in T-ball, so it’s exciting that what I’ve been working for all these years is finally coming true. I just want to thank God for giving me this opportunity.”
Two of McGuire’s fellow seniors, Jordan Sims and Sarah Wallace, will also play at the level, Sims at Jacksonville State and Wallace at Snead State.
“We’ve played softball together since we were little, and we work off each other very well,” said McGuire. “Everyone’s working hard and we’re planning on having a really good season.”
As The Messenger’s Offensive Player of the Year last season, McGuire led the Lady Jackets in batting (.533), RBI (65), home runs (12) and on-base percentage (.631).
McGuire was selected first team catcher for the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Class 3A All-State team, the Class 3A, All-Area 10 team and the All-Etowah County team.
McGuire also was named most valuable player for the area and county tournaments and was both her team’s overall and offensive MVP.
McGuire’s success carried over into su-mmer travel ball, where she batted .548, drove in 63 runs and hit 18 home runs.
Last season, Southern Union went 40-1, including a 1501 mark in conference play, en route to winning the Alabama Community College Conference-Central Division title.
“I’ve had my eye on Jaime for about a year and a half now, and we’re fortunate to have her,” said SUCC head softball coach Brian Pittman. “With her experience, power and athletic ability, I feel she’ll come in next year and step in the middle of the lineup and have an immediate impact. We look for kids that are from winning program who can transfer that success to the college level, and Jamie’s that type of kid.”
Helped in great part by McGuire’s bat and glove, the 2012 Lady Yellow Jackets won the county and area tournaments and finished 34-12 after going 1-2 in the Class 3A North Central Regional Tournament.
GHS head softball coach Amy Travis noted that McGuire is a vital piece to the team’s success.
“Jamie is a player that any coach would love to have on his or her team. She brings so much to the playing field. She is a valuable player on both offense and defense. Not only has Jamie helped lead us to the regional tournament for the past two years, she also has helped us win the area tournament the past two years, the county tournament last year, and numerous other tournaments throughout the season.
“I can’t say enough about Jamie and her leadership. I am really going to miss her next year, on and off the field. Southern Union is gaining a player that will be able to walk in and contribute to their program. I don’t see her having any problems succeeding on the next level.
Jamie, who also excels in the classroom with a 3.75 GPA, currently is undecided on her field of study at SUCC.
“Jamie certainly has a great set of softball skills, but she’s also a natural leader who’s been a real role model for the underclassmen in the program,” said Jason Gilley, who coached Jaime on the GHS varsity softball team through her sophomore year. “I couldn’t have asked for a better person, as well as a player, to coach, and I think she’ll carry that over to Southern Union.”
“I’ve coached Jamie for four years, and as an athlete she has tremendous offensive awareness and will be a huge asset [to Southern Union],” added Larry Willis, Jamie’s hitting coach. “Jamie has extremely quick hands, exceptional power and great hand-to-eye coordination. She’ll definitely excel at the next level.”