March 11, 2011
By Jon Cooper
– As hot as Shannon Bear has been at the plate lately, it’s difficult to get her out of her comfort zone.
But there is a way to do it — ask her to talk about her accomplishments, especially being named last week’s ACC Player of the Week.
The junior Biochemistry major will talk about her personal success, but only within the context of the team’s.
“It’s a great honor,” said Bear, who won the award for the first time in her career as part of a Georgia Tech sweep of Player and Pitcher of the Week (senior Kristen Adkins won the pitching award). “Just kind of being able to see my contributions to the team’s success, it’s just great.”
Those contributions included a .429 batting average (6-for-14), with four doubles, a homer, nine RBIs (one in all five games she played), five runs scored and a stolen base.
“I don’t think I have [had a week like that], especially not college-wise,” she said. “It’s been crazy, but I’m glad that, aside from how well I’ve done, we’ve done so well as a team. We’ve been winning and that’s great.”
It shouldn’t be surprising that Bear puts her moment of personal triumph into a team context. After all, this is someone who has earned her stripes by selflessly playing anywhere and everywhere she’s been needed.
She had to be told that she won the award.
“One of my teammates told me that I got Player of the Week, I was really surprised,” she said. “I guess I realized that I’d done well but I always take away from games things that I need to work on. That’s not to say that I’m always down on myself when I do that but I always pick up the little things that I need to work on.”
That work ethic isn’t lost on teammates.
“She works really hard,” said Adkins. “Physically she’s not a big girl but she lifts all the big-girl weights. She’s just strong and got a great work ethic.”
Bear, who stands 5-6, gets a kick out of venturing into “big-girl” territory in the weight room.
“They’ll give us a weight range. I’ll always try and strive to do the higher end of the weight,” she said. “Just the little group that I usually work out with, that’s what we always kind of joke about, that we’re lifting the `big-girl weights.’ It’s kind of a pride thing.”
Heading into this weekend’s Springhill Suites Buckhead Classic taking place at Mewborn Field (Tech brought its six-game winning streak into Friday afternoon’s game against Bowling Green), Bear sported a .405 batting average, second on the team, tied with Hope Rush and behind only freshman Hayley Downs. She also ranked second in doubles (five, one behind shortstop Kelsi Weseman), and on-base percentage (.465, behind only Rush’s .532), was third on the team in slugging average (.757, behind only Rush and first baseman Kristine Priebe) and in average with runners on (.333, 7-for-21). She ranked fourth in RBIs with 11 and is fifth in total bases with 28.
Bear’s been money with runners on base, as she had a .565 advancement rate (only center fielder Christy Jones was better) and was hitting .500 with runners in scoring position (6-for-12) and .833 (5-for-6) with a runner on third and less than two out.
Defensively, she’s been perfect in 16 chances everywhere from second to left field.
The Jackets, who were perfect in their last six heading into Friday’s game, are looking good and feeling good.
She should feel especially good about today’s match-up, as last Tuesday, the last time she and Tech saw Penn State — today’s opponent, with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m., — she went 2-for-3, with a homer and a triple, in Tech’s 2-0 victory.
“It’s a lot easier to be relaxed and have fun when you’re being successful as a team,” Bear said. “I think that all of us are kind of getting into our groove now and just going out there and having fun with it and it’s been working out for us.”
So how about you? It has to be nice for you to see all your hard work paying off, right?
“It does. It feels great,” she said.