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SHALLOTTE — West Brunswick senior Abbey Dyson signed a letter of intent May 28 to attend College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswick and play softball.
Dyson has been a four-year started at West, and coach Joe Noble said she has been one of the keys to team’s success. The Trojans reached the fourth round of the playoffs this year the deepest run in the history of the program.
“When she got here,” Noble said, “it was obvious she was going to be a superstar here.”
Dyson stepped in as a freshman when a second baseman suffered an injury.
“It was quite obvious when she got up what kind of talent she was going to be.”
The next year Dyson started at shortstop.
“She’s done a great job there,” Noble said. “She’s been a rock for us at shortstop.”
Dyson also played for the Coastal Lightning, and it through it on a recruiting website that Coastal Georgia coach Mike Minick noticed Dyson.
“He saw our team website and he called our coach,” Dyson said, “and it just went from there.”
Dyson, a shortstop, will join an NAIA Division team that is rebuilding and a program that will be in its fourth year at the four-year college.
“I met some of the girls and they’re very nice,” Dyson said. “I already feel like a part of the team.” Dyson plans to study criminal justice.
In coach Minick’s first season — he took over the program just before the season started — the Mariners finished 8-12 and tied for fifth in the Southern States Athletic Conference.
The team, which lost a starting pitcher to injury and another to injury for four games, ended the season with a 14-game losing streak and finished 13-30 overall. One of the losses was 2-0 to No. 2 ranked Auburn-Montgomery. The 13 victories — which included a no-hitter by freshman Dawn Stewart— were the most in the program’s first three years.
“We just got worn down,” Minick said in story at the team website.“The competition got better, but the lack of depth and everything just caught up to us. We needed to be better defensively. We made too many errors, which you can't do against the good teams we face.”
Minick is an Elon University graduate who has lived in Brunswick, Ga., since 1983 and has coached high school and youth softball for 15 years.
The 13-player roster loses six players, including the senior shortstop. Dyson most likely will play in many games her first season and should be a good fit with second baseman Savannah Cook, a rising senior who finished as the team’s leading hitter (.322).
“She’s got some work to do hitting,” Noble said about Dyson. “She makes contact. She doesn’t strike out. She puts the ball in play every time. It’s unfortunate the last two years it’s always been right at somebody. If she had been on our field, she’s hit a couple of balls that would have been out this year. But she’s going to step in and be an immediate impact down there.
“They’re going to find out real quick what they got — and it’s good.”