May 7, 2011
When Georgia Tech Softball takes the field this afternoon against Florida State in their 2011 season finale, it will be the final time — in regular-season play, at least — that seniors Kristen Adkins, Christy Jones, Kristine Priebe and Jessica Weaver will get to do what they’ve done so well for the Mewborn Field faithful.
The four seniors talked briefly about their favorite moment in their college career to Assistant Director of Communications Seth Gerard — the link to the full interviews is http://ramblinwreck.cstv.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/050511aac.html.
Sting Daily was able to add some specifics to those great moments by these four great players.
Happy trails as you go down memory lane.
“I would say our freshman year. We were having kind of a rough year but we took two from Georgia and it was kind of the turnaround of our year. That was really memorable.”
There’s good reason for that April 9, 2008 day to stand out for Weaver, especially the nightcap. The Jackets came to Glenn Field with a 9-12 record, having lost three in a row and five out of seven. Georgia, similarly, had lost three straight and would go on to lose three more, after the double-header, ironically to Florida, where Adkins and Priebe were playing.
In the opener, the Jackets put together a four-run fifth-inning to take a 6-2 lead then held off Georgia in the seventh to win, 6-4.
In the second game, Tech was six outs away from having to settle for a split, trailing 3-1, while Georgia pitcher Kate Gaskill had retired six of the previous seven batters she’d faced. That would change in the sixth.
With one out, catcher Savannah Brown walked and third baseman Brittany Barnes followed with a double, putting the tying runs in scoring position. That brought up Weaver. She had been 0-for-2 in the game and 0-for-5 in the doubleheader. That, too, would change.
The freshman worked the count full then smacked a game-tying, two-run single. Second baseman Amanda Crow followed with a double, scoring pinch-runner Amelia Beach for the go-ahead run. Emily Schreck would issue two walks in the seventh but also induced a game-ending 4-6-3 double play, and Tech held on, 4-3.
It was Georgia Tech’s second straight sweep of UGA and the team would win 11 of its final 13 on the way to a 32-31 finish. Tech would win one game in the ACC’s and one game in the NCAAs.
“Sophomore year ACC’s just because our freshman year was such a different season compared to our sophomore year. Just coming back that sophomore year and winning ACC’s was a cool feeling.”
The following season was a big-time bounce-back year for Georgia Tech, which would go 46-15 (17-3 in the ACC) and cap off the season with an ACC Championship.
In the quarterfinal game, Jones was 1-for-2, with the hit being a key bunt single loading the bases as the No. 15 Yellow Jackets manufactured what would be the game-winning run in the 7-0 victory over Virginia
In the semis, Tech spotted Virginia Tech four runs but Jessica Coan pitched 6 2/3 innings of scoreless, three-hit relief and the offense erupted for 14 unanswered runs, eight in the fourth and six more in the seventh. Jones scored in each rally and the Jackets buried the Hokies, 14-4.
In the Championship Game, Jones manned left as the Jackets scored three first-inning runs to beat Florida State, 3-1.
“It’s really difficult to pinpoint one moment. You play so much time out here. But I think probably my favorite is my sophomore year when I first got here and we ended up winning the ACC’s. No one really expected it from us and when I transferred no one expected us to do anything at all. So it was just kind of proving that I was right all along.”
It’s little wonder that Adkins fondly recalls 2009 ACC Championship weekend in Raleigh, N.C. Her reasoning is a little different than Jones’ however.
2009 was Adkins’ first season in Atlanta after trasferring from the University of Florida. She made quite a first impression, going 24-7 with a 1.69 ERA in 28 starts, throwing 17 complete games, with five shutouts. At the plate, she hit .273 with nine homers and 40 RBIs, while slugging .530.
Adkins would raise the bar by winning ACC Tournament MVP honors.
In the opener, she pitched six shutout innings, allowing Virginia three hits, while getting two hits herself and scoring twice, including the game-winning run in the second inning. She played third and DP in the Semifinals against Virginia Tech, going 1-for-4 with a two-run single in the fourth.
Adkins saved her best for last in helping clinch the Championship Game, pitching a complete game, allowing one earned run and eight hits. She also drove in the third and final run in the first-inning uprising. The three runs would be more than enough, as Adkins, who used the double-play ball to get out of jams in the final two innings. The game-ending double play was of the 8-2 variety, as centerfielder Blair Shimandle caught the one-out fly ball then threw home to Weaver, who applied the tag on the FSU runner attempting to score.
“Probably last year when we were playing Oregon and I had a hit to tie the game against them. That was a very exciting moment for me.”
While things didn’t necessarily end well for Georgia Tech in the second game of their NCAA Tournament Regional against Oregon, Priebe, like Adkins, a transfer from Florida — the two were teammates in Gainesville in 2008 — was nearly a hero in her first NCAA Tournament on the Flats.
The slugging first baseman came up with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh inning with Tech having already scored once but still trailing, 3-2. The Ducks walked shortstop Kelsi Weseman to face Priebe. She foiled their strategy by hitting a 3-1 pitch through the left side to score Christy Jones, who had walked in the inning. The hit pulled Tech even from 3-1 down. The Jackets, they wouldn’t score again and fell, 4-3.
Unfortunately, the window for Tech fans to watch Adkins, Jones, Priebe and Weaver is closing. There isn’t more than a few weeks, depending on the Jackets’ postseason run.
Fortunately, they’ve had the last few years.