blakeney has softball in her heart
By Mike London
KANNAPOLIS ó A.L. Brown softball coach Cindy Lyon uses two totally unexpected words to describe senior shortstop Zebresha Blakeney.
ěVery intimidating,î Lyon says.
Voted her schoolís most athletic female senior, Blakeneyís scariness comes from blazing speed, not size.
Sheís barely 5 feet tall, but sheís sprinted herself right into a scholarship from North Carolina A&T.
Sporting a bright gold cap and T-shirt ó A&Tís colors are gold and blue ó she officially signed with the Aggies last week.
ěI really donít know where to begin,î Lyon said. ěI never played with anyone, coached anyone or coached against anyone who can run like her. Her speed is unbelievable.î
Blakeneyís quickness has served her well on the basketball court. Sheís been a contributor in hoops despite always being the tiniest girl on the floor. She averaged 7.6 points, 2.3 assists and 2.0 steals and knocked down 15 3-pointers for the Wonders as a senior.
Track and field sprints would seem to be an obvious fit for Blakeneyís talent, especially at a school that has been far more successful in track than in softball.
ěWell, they have begged me a few times to run track,î Blakeney said with a laugh. ěBut itís softball thatís in my heart.î
Blakelyís loyalty to a softball program thatís trying to build a winning tradition has been admirable.
ěSheís just a bolt of lightning and a ball of energy for us,î Lyon said. ěShe could plan anywhere on the field.î
Blakeneyís offensive role for the Wonders is leadoff hitter. Lyon says sheís a ěguaranteed runî if she gets on base.
ěI love leadoff,î Blakeney said. ěGet it started and get everyone hyped up.î
Blakeneyís wheels and slick glove have given Brown fans something to cheer about through some tough losses in a balanced league filled with very good teams.
A four-year varsity starter, Blakeney already has made all-conference in softball twice, and Lyon expects her to be selected for a third time after this season.
Blakeney excels defensively. She likely could be an exceptional center fielder at the college level, but she enjoys shortstop the most and hopes to stay there.
ěIíve been able to make some diving plays this year, some look-what-I-got-in-my-glove plays,î Blakeney said.
North Carolina A&T can use some of Blakeneyís magic. The young Aggies are currently 6-23, and coach Mamie Jones has 10 freshmen among her 13 players.
Blakeneyís recruitment was mostly quiet. She plays summer travel ball for the high-powered Denver Dazzle, and thatís where she got most of her exposure to college coaches.
ěNorth Carolina A&T told me theyíd been watching me for three years,î Blakeney said. ěI had no idea, really. You see all those coaches up there wearing sunglasses and watching games, but you never know who theyíre looking at.î
When Blakeney, who is ěZî to her teammates and friends, visited the Greensboro campus, she immediately loved the school and the team and no longer had any doubts about her future.
Lyon emphasized that Blakeney put herself in position to get a scholarship by getting the job done off the field as well as on it.
ěSheís got an impeccable record as far as discipline and academics,î Lyon said. ěI believe she can go far.î
NOTES: Blakeneyís basketball teammate Jasmine Parker signed with N.C. A&T in November. … Blakeneyís grandfather is James ěButchî Anthony, who was a fine athlete for the Wonders in the early 1970s.
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