First Posted: 4/1/2009
DOBSON With her nails painted pink and her glove a matching hue, Surry Central shortstop Lakken Weaver brings a little glamour with her onto the softball field.
That doesnt mean she cant play with the boys. In fact, it was less than two years ago, in the summer of 2007, when Weaver played first base in the Surry County Babe Ruth League. That summer, Weaver played for no less than five teams, four of which were softball squads. So how did she end up on a baseball team?
My friends dad coached and he told my mama (he needed players) and he just gave me a uniform and I started playing, Weaver said. I didnt really decide. They just gave me a uniform.
Getting on the team wasnt much of a problem for Weaver; it was learning a similar game with different nuances. From the way she held the ball before throwing to hitting an overhand pitch, it didnt take Weaver long to realize she was in a parallel universe one that involved leads and stealing bases.
It was different, she said. Very, very different.
The good thing for Weaver was she didnt have to throw much from her first base position.
She said she did better than she thought she would hitting-wise (she batted seventh) and facing overhand pitchers did not alter her timing for hitting fast pitch softball pitchers. To the contrary, Weaver said focusing on the smaller ball helped her concentrate better on an incoming softball.
For now, Weaver has hung up her baseball uniform to focus solely on softball. After two years on the junior varsity, she quickly made a name for herself on the varsity by getting at least one hit in every game so far this season.
Through Sunday, Weaver was batting .313 for the Golden Eagles (4-1, 2-0 Mountain Valley 2-A). She is one of 10 juniors on Phil Bowers squad that starts only one senior.
In addition to a strong arm in the field and solid contact at the plate, Weaver has a wrinkle in her game: Switch hitting. When called upon, she has the ability to switch to a lefty stance. When she does, there isnt much slapping going on.
Theres a lot of teams that have one girl that can (switch hit), Bowers said. They slap at it, try to slap it over the third basemans head or something like that. (Weaver) doesnt lose much when she does it.
Last week she smacked a double from the left side. However, Bowers doesnt give her the green light to switch hit all the time and he is not about to give away his secret as to when the opportune situation might be.
The phone stills rings with baseball coaches on the other end trying to convince Weaver to give the game another chance.
For now, she said she will stick to softball and play for her traveling teams in the summer. Just dont be surprised if a pink glove is seen on a nearby baseball diamond.
Contact Ed Phillipps at [email protected] or 719-1921.