• Carter named Pre-season Second Team All-Southern Conference
By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
The winter chill has briefly subsided giving hope that spring is on the horizon. For plenty of college athletes, the spring season has opened already. Softball and baseball has already begun for several local high school graduates.
Northview High School graduate Taylor Carter has begun her senior campaign at Division I East Tennessee State and received some pre-season accolades from the Buccaneers’ conference.
The first baseman was named second-team All-Southern Conference prior to her senior season. Carter started all 42 games last season and hit .323 for the Bucs with 13 doubles, nine home runs, 26 runs scored and 26 RBI. She also was 1-1 in the pitching circle with a save in 10 appearances, including three starts. She tied for seventh in the conference in doubles and ranked eighth in slugging percentage (.638). Her slugging percentage was the second highest by a Buccaneer in single season history.
In the season opening tournament at Boiling Springs, NC, the Bucs won four of five games and claimed the American Classic Tourney championship with a 3-2 clinching win over Alabama A&M on Sunday.
Hitting fifth in the lineup, Carter was 1-3 in the final game and scored a run while making six put outs at first base defensively. On Saturday however, Carter pounded out a triple and a home run as ETSU topped Gardner-Webb 4-1 in the afternoon game. In the 10 a.m. morning contest, a 7-2 win over Alabama A&M, Carter was 1-3 with a double and an RBI.
On the opening day of the tourney, the Bucs split games with a 6-1 win over North Carolina A&T and fell 8-7 to Gardner-Webb despite a 3-4 effort from Carter at the plate. She also scored twice and drove in a run.
The Bucs are off to the program’s best start at 4-1 overall as Carter has hit .412 over 17 at-bats with seven hits and has slugged .765 .
East Tennessee State travels to Charleston Southern in South Carolina for a three-day tourney with Virginia and UNC-Wilmington.
Also in Tennessee, Clay City graduate Raven Allender has seen some brief action for the King University Tornado softball team this season. Allender has pitched an inning and two-thirds while allowing two hits and an unearned run in a start against Bellarmine on Feb. 4.
At Oakland City College, Clay City alum Whitney Jeffers prepares for her junior season with the Oaks softball team that opens play this weekend. Fellow Clay City graduate Alexis Price will start her career at Rose-Hulman as the Engineers open the season in Clermont, Fla. on Feb. 27-28.
Also at King University, Alisha Steward has begun her freshman season of indoor track and field for the Tornado.
In a Feb. 4 meet, Steward set a personal collegiate record time in the 800 meters with a time of 2:28.04 to place 19th. The effort broke her previous record of 2:32.14.
Steward has competed in several different events during the indoor season with the Tornado. She opened her collegiate career with a time of 2:34.13 in the 800 back on Jan. 13 to place 23rd at the East Tennessee State Track and Field Invite. She also ran a time of 1:06.87 in the 400 meters to place 42nd. A week later, Steward competed in the Wake Forest Invite and ran in the distance medley relay and ran a 14:23.59. She also placed 26th in the 800 meters with a time of 2:32.14 before running her PR during the Buccaneer Track and Field Invite last week.
Former Northview all-conference distance runner Ashley Kidwell is now in her sophomore season at IUPUI and she took to the track at West Lafayette for the Gene Edmonds Invite at Purdue on Jan. 7. Kidwell competed in the 3,000 meters and ran a time of 10:48.89 to open the season.
Northview graduate Devin McCollum and the Franklin Grizzlies compete this weekend in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Meet at Rose-Hulman this weekend.
On the baseball diamond, the season commences for Purdue University and Clay City grad Hunter Wolfe. The Boilermakers head southwest to take on Texas State in a four-game set beginning Feb. 17. The IU-Southeast Grenadiers and Northview graduate Dalton Shaw open the baseball season this weekend with a trip to Lindenwood University-Bellesville on Feb. 17. On Feb. 25, Oakland City College senior Craig Peters, a former Knight, starts his season by hosting a doubleheader against the University of Illinois-Springfield. At Danville (Ill.) Community College, Damon Bass will start his sophomore campaign. A schedule was not available at press time.
Lincoln Trail College has gone 1-3 to start the 2017 campaign with a trip to Millington, Tenn. last weekend followed by a visit to Emerson, Ga.
Northview graduate Nathan Thomas has started his freshman season with the team and has pitched two-thirds of an inning in early action. He has allowed one earned run while walking one and striking out a batter.