J.R. Tidwell/FCT Belgreen seniors Lauren Oliver (bottom left) and Erica Smith (bottom right) hold pens to paper as (back row: left to right) Alabama Southern head softball coach Elaine Coven, Jason Oliver, Greg Smith, Kim Smith, Belgreen head softball coach Ritchie Hester and David Ivey of Southeastern Athletics look on.

Archived Story

Oliver, Smith sign with Alabama Southern

Published 5:57am Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Erica Smith and Lauren Oliver, seniors at Belgreen high school, will be joining Brae Sellars at Alabama Southern Community College playing softball this fall.

Both girls also play basketball, but like Sellars, they decided that their sports future was in softball.

“I had choices to play basketball, but I really wanted to go [to Alabama Southern,] Smith said. “I feel like I can accomplish more in softball than in basketball.”

“[I prefer softball] because it’s the sport I grew up playing since I was five,” Oliver said. “My friend was going, so if I got the chance to go I would. Ever since I found out I have been so excited.”

Belgreen head softball coach Ritchie Hester, a former Vina coach, will have a different perspective for these two players this softball season.

“I’m excited for the girls,” Hester said. “They’ve played basketball for me. They know I like aggressive play, and we’ll carry that into softball. I’m looking forward to coaching them instead of coaching against them.”

Smith likes to play in the infield and Oliver can play “anywhere but pitcher” but prefers third base.

“I like playing in the infield,” Smith said. “I love line drives and having to dive for the ball. I’m excited. Softball isn’t as rough as basketball.”

Smith said that sporting a couple of scrapes on her face from the previous night’s basketball game against R.A. Hubbard.

All three of these seniors from Franklin County will be travelling to Monroeville to play softball. They are sure to make their hometowns proud out on the softball diamond this fall.

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