Blythe named All-American as freshman
Published 7:56 pm Saturday, May 18, 2013
Freshman softball player Megan Blythe of the West Virginia University Institute of Technology recently had the honor of being named a 2013 United States Collegiate Athletic Association first team All-American.
To be deserving of the title, the former King’s Fork High School and Sting Fastpitch standout had to have a season performance worthy of a nomination by her team’s head coach, and then receive a sufficient number of votes from an eight-coach panel convened by the USCAA.
WVU Tech head coach Karin Gadberry said her reason for nominating Blythe came “probably when she received the player of the week (award) against Bluefield State (College), when she really got on fire, and she just continued that whole trend.”
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Blythe was taken aback by the All-American honor.
“I was so surprised,” she said. “I didn’t have a good start to my year, and I picked it up in the end, and practiced all of my spare time, and just tried to help myself out, and it definitely worked.”
She finished the regular season on an 11-game hitting streak and led the Golden Bears with a .400 batting average while carrying a .585 slugging percentage. She registered 26 hits, including four doubles, one triple and two home runs. She batted in 14 runs and stole two bases.
“It’s huge to me, especially since I’m a freshman,” she said of the award. “It’s a huge honor, and I’m speechless every time I talk about it.”
Blythe had certain goals she had set for herself, but she admitted that being an All-American “wasn’t even on the radar. My goal was just strictly to be USCAA (Hitter) of the Week, or (Association of Independent Institutions Female Athlete of the Week), something like that, and I got both of those, and that was it for me. I was like, ‘OK, goals made, I’m done,’ and then this happened.”
Gadberry said Blythe was able to make the necessary changes in her game to peak at the end of the year, which is her ideal for all her players.
“Megan kind of got off to a slow start, but that tends to kind of happen, and sometimes it is best if they go through a time period where they were playing, and then they kind of don’t play, and they understand the game, and they make the adjustments, and that’s what Megan did,” she said.
Upon recruiting her, Gadberry knew Blythe would make an impact, even as a freshman.
“You don’t recruit somebody and expect them to hit .390, .400, but there are certain players that you expect to go out there and perform or start to do those type of things,” she said.
Blythe continued to perform in the USCAA tournament that followed the regular season, hitting in each of the five games played to extend her hit streak to 16 games. The Golden Bears went 3-2 in the event and won fifth place with a 12-3 victory over Carlow University.
In that final game, Blythe went 3-for-3, including a single, double and triple, with two runs scored and two RBIs. The performance helped to earn her a place on the USCAA’s National All-Tournament team.
“There were definitely times that we could have done better, but as a team, I think we did very well with pulling through in the end and finishing the tournament out on a positive note,” Blythe said.
The WVU Tech website indicated that the win capped back-to-back winning seasons for the Golden Bears along with the first national championship berth ever for the school’s softball program.