Tuesday, November 27, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Badger signs with Williams

Leader sportswriter

Some high-school athletes agonize over his or her college choice, but Beebe Lady Badger softball standout Madelyn Poe did not have that problem.

In fact, Poe, just a junior, already knows her academic and playing future as she signed her Letter of Intent to play softball at Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge under seventh-year coach Eric Newell. Poe signed at the Beebe High School Media center on Tuesday afternoon in front of faculty, family and teammates with Newell and Lady Badgers coach Eric Chambers also in attendance.

Poe, a shortstop for the Lady Badgers, has started since her freshman season.

“I think she’s probably more of a second baseman in college,” Chambers said. “I think that’s probably what he is signing her for, but she’s a really good slap hitter, and she has a great on-base percentage these last two years, and she’s really fast. She does a really good job of putting the ball in play.”

Poe broke out big time as a freshman with an incredible .680 on-base average and recorded a .530 OBA her sophomore year.

“The first thing that catches your attention is her speed,” Newell said. “She’s extremely fast, and our program is built all around speed. And then when I found out she’s just an outstanding kid with good grades, it was just the total package that we look for in a student athlete.”

Newell has been successful at building a strong tradition in his six seasons over the Eagles women’s softball program. WBC has had a number of consecutive record-breaking seasons, including last year’s 51-10 record and 13th-place NAIA national ranking. The 2012 season also marked the third-straight Midwest Conference championship for the Eagles, who also won the conference tournament last season.

“We’ve had a great run,” Newell said. “And signing players like Madelyn Poe is hopefully going to keep that going. We’ve started a tradition, and we plan on keeping it.”

Newell agreed that Poe could possibly play second base or even outfield in college, but also said she is athletic enough to play wherever there was a need.

“I’m very excited,” Poe said following her signing. “I just knew the college was great, and I love the coach and the campus and everything about it. I’m getting to play at a Christian school. There was just no need in waiting.”

Poe also plays club softball in the summer with the Arkansas Heat, and is excited about the upcoming spring with the Lady Badgers team.

“I think this will be our year if any year to win it all,” Poe said. “So I’m really excited about this year.”