West Virginia University Institute of Technology sophomore Megan Blythe, center, aims to pull her own weight and support her teammates during an injury heavy time.
West Virginia University Institute of Technology sophomore Megan Blythe, center, aims to pull her own weight and support her teammates during an injury heavy time.

Blythe’s sophomore blast-off

Published 10:53pm Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Former King’s Fork High School softball standout Megan Blythe started her sophomore season at the West Virginia University Institute of Technology with a bang.

In the first half of a double-header against visiting University of Northwestern Ohio on Saturday, she recorded three hits, two runs batted in and two runs scored, one of which came about when she knocked a pitch out of the park.

Blythe did nothing to hide her true reaction to the big hit.

Blythe
Blythe

“Yeah, I was definitely surprised because last year I had only hit two out, and I was just baffled (on Saturday) because I hit one in the first game,” she said.

“I’m a proud mother,” Beth Chabot, Blythe’s mom, wrote in an email. But even she expressed her surprise when she said, “Usually they struggle when they first start out.”

The team, however, did struggle, as the Golden Bears ended up losing the game 12-8 and fell 13-6 in the second contest, during which Blythe registered a stolen base. But despite the losses, Blythe’s confidence was still bolstered by her performance in Game One.

“I was really excited about my hitting, and I really laid a really great bunt down on the left,” she said. “We have a new coach this year, and she just really instills a lot of positivity in the team,” she said.

Coach Amber Affholter took over for Karin Gadberry, who moved on to a coaching position at New Mexico Highlands University.

Leading up to the home run in Saturday’s game, one of Affholter’s assistants kept encouraging Blythe to go for the big hit, rather than bunting, telling her he believed she could do it.

“It really made me even more confident,” Blythe said. “I was really comfortable as soon as (Coach Affholter) told me to switch around and get on the right side. I was just like, ‘I’m going to hit this ball.’”

She had two strikes against her, but nailed it with two runners on base.

Blythe was recruited by Gadberry to play for the Golden Bears. Some of her former teammates with the Sting Fastpitch travel ball team opted to follow Gadberry to New Mexico. Blythe stayed at WVU Tech and said the transition has gone well.

“I think it is a very positive change, because Coach Affholter, she’s just great,” Blythe said. “She definitely teaches us something new every single day.”

Blythe said Affholter does not restrict her lessons to softball, either.

“She’s also there as a mentor, and wants us to grow as people, as well,” Blythe said.

Blythe’s individual goals for the season include keeping her batting average on par with her freshman mark of .422. That average helped her to be named a 2013 United States Collegiate Athletic Association first team All-American.

“I’m hoping that I can keep the first team All-American standard,” Blythe said.

She admitted she was nervous on Saturday, because she was playing second base.

“I’ve never played second base before, but with injuries, we’re having to move around,” she said.

After playing leftfield last year, she was going to play third base this year. Nevertheless, she recognized the challenge that comes with playing an unfamiliar position.

“I’m going to have to prove my own this year, I’m going to have to hold my spot,” she said.

Blythe gave her opinion on her development as a college softball player thus far.

“I think there’s only room to grow,” she said. “I’m hoping that this first game was an example of how the rest of the season is going to go.”

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