DOBSON — After finishing third in the Region X Conference, Surry Community College’s softball team was rewarded handsomely with five all-region selections and the coach of the year award.
Even though the Knights had a bit of a down year after winning Region X and advancing to the College World Series in 2015, Surry finished 19-25 against an ambitious schedule before finishing third in the conference.
“We played a really tough schedule. We thought it would make us better and it did,” said Surry head coach Blaine Bullington, who was selected as the Region X Coach of the Year. “We really played better at the end of the season even if the record didn’t always show it.”
Representing the Knights on the All-Region X squad were first teamers Brooke Bagwell (Mooresville High School), Erynne Chalk (Fred T. Foard), Meagan Linville (South Stokes) and Abby Martin (North Surry) and second-teamer Hayley Tickle (North Surry).
A freshman, Bagwell earned first-team honors as an infielder after a monster season at the plate. The first-year sensation led the team in hits (52), home runs (5), RBIs (37), runs (34), and doubles (11). A threat to hit for power and average, she also finished second on the team in slugging percentage (.569) and third in batting average (.380).
“Brooke was a big asset to us all year. She was a power hitter for us and just an all-around gritty player,” Bullington said. “She worked hard and was well deserving of this all-region nomination. She’s coming back and will provide a lot of power next year.”
Bagwell is joined on the first team by fellow Surry infielder Erynne Chalk at third base. Named the team’s Utility Player of the Year, the Knights used Chalk all over the field. Turning in a great season defensively, the freshman also was second on the team in runs (28), RBIs (27) and doubles (8), and was third in home runs (2) and fourth in hits (40).
“Erynne is a great kid and she got really frustrated if she made an error. She was just a true utility player and she played anywhere we needed her,” Bullington said. “We look forward to having her back next year at third base.”
Meagan Linville earned first-team all-region honors as an outfielder despite coming to Dobson as an infielder. At the plate, she was fourth on the team in batting with a .358 average. She was fifth in hits with 38 to go along with 22 runs, four doubles and 16 RBIs.
“She came in as an infielder and lost out to one of our pitchers. We actually put her in the outfield by chance to try something. We were watching her in practice one day and the way she read balls off the bat, she stuck in left field for us except when she was on the mound,” Bullington said. “She is a great kid who worked hard and battled through a few injuries. I think she surprised herself a little with her outfield play. She may be right back there next year although she will get plenty of time on the mound.”
Surry placed two North Surry graduates on the All-Region X team as utility players. Abby Martin’s selection gave the Knights four freshmen on the first team. Although she was recruited mostly as an infielder, SCC used her in the outfield due to some injuries, and also played her at shortstop. Martin was Surry’s second-leading hitter with a .387 batting average. She also had five doubles, one triple, a home run, 20 RBIs and scored 25 runs.
“She played well in the field and swung the bat extremely well, especially in our region,” Bullington said. “I think she was really impressive the way she hit the ball.”
The only Surry sophomore to make the squad, Tickle closed out a terrific career in Dobson with second-team all-region honors as a utility player. At the plate, Tickle led the Knights in hitting (.418 batting average) and slugging percentage (.573). She had the second-highest home run total on the team with three and was third in hits (46), doubles (6), and RBIs (22). On the mound, she led the team with a 9-9 record and 13 complete games.
“Hayley was great on the mound for us all year. She also led us in RBIs and we needed her bat in the lineup,” Bullington said. “Sometimes she would pitch both games of a doubleheader. The last weekend of the year we went to Southeast and Florence. We went 3-1 and she won all three games. We were very fortunate to have her. She will be very sorely missed. She was truly deserving of first-team honors.”
As for the coach of the year award, Bullington said it may have been a makeup for the previous year after leading the team to the conference title and a berth in the College World Series.
“It was a surprise and very nice, but I am not in this for accolades,” Bullington said.