Prior to the start of the season, Courtney Gordon believed the University of West Alabama had the potential to have a good softball team.
Gordon must have known something.
West Alabama (27-5) is off to its best start in school history after sweeping a doubleheader at Stillman College, in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Tuesday. The Lady Tigers won the opener 18-0 and the nightcap 17-2.
Gordon, a 2005 graduate of New Hope High School, is a senior shortstop for the Lady Tigers who has played an instrumental role in the team”s fast start.
“When we were practicing, everyone felt the camaraderie on the team,” Gordon said. “We felt we could play great together because everyone got along. We try to pump each other up, and so far everything seems to be going pretty good.”
Gordon was unaware West Alabama was off to its best start in school history until being informed of that Tuesday.
“A lot of the girls just love playing together, and that”s the most important thing,” Gordon said. “If you can get along together, I think that”s a big part of playing good together.”
Gordon is third on the team with a .382 batting average and second on the team with 28 RBIs. She also has two home runs and six doubles and has scored 20 runs.
Gordon”s defense has been just as important as her production at the plate. She has 12 errors and a .913 fielding percentage.
West Alabama is bidding for its first winning season since 1997 (32-18). It finished 29-29 last season, and coach Will Atkinson credits the team”s rise to players like Gordon.
“She”s got an unbelievable amount of athletic ability with great range and a great arm,” Atkinson said. “She”s basically been the anchor of our infield. It”s one of those situations when you get a groundball to the left side of the infield, she”s got an opportunity to make the play regardless of the speed of the runner.
“I think she prides herself on her defense. I think that”s the thing she enjoys the most, but she”s talented enough and athletic enough that she”s a good hitter, as well. I think if you were to ask her, she would really comment on the fact she prides herself on her ability to play her position and play it well.”
Gordon transferred to West Alabama after two seasons at Meridian Community College. She led the Lady Eagles with 29 RBIs and was third on the team with a .356 batting average as a sophomore.
“She had a great workout,” Atkinson said. “I felt like, without a doubt, she was going to come in and have a big impact offensively and defensively.”.
Not only is Gordon experiencing success on the field, she also is excelling in the classroom. She”s majoring in accounting and had a 3.0 grade-point average last semester
“From the moment she stepped foot on our campus she has contributed on the playing field as well as being a strong student in the classroom,” Atkinson said.
Gordon is focused on helping the Lady Tigers have a successful season, but she also has her eye on the future. She has set Jan. 9, 2010, as a date to marry Kedrick Martin, who she met at Meridian C.C.
Martin played baseball at MCC and is in the Florida Marlins organization. He is in Florida for spring training..
“Everybody is already talking about how athletic they”re going to be,” Gordon said, referring to any children she and Martin might have.
Until then, Gordon hopes her athletic ability will help West Alabama win the Gulf South Conference and continue on its quest for a national championship.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.