Athlete of Week: Cassidy a real catch for Lady Sharks

sjsoft-cassidybatSt. James High catcher Noel Cassidy stepped into the position almost nobody wants to play, and put herself in position to play softball at the next level.

While attending the Horry County Scholars Academy at Coastal Carolina University, where she will graduate with an associates degree in May, Cassidy began playing at St. James her freshman year as a utility player. When starting catcher Erin Brown moved on to play at UNC Wilmington, Cassidy volunteered to take her place behind the plate and has been there for three seasons.

“In travel ball our coach would let everyone try every position, and I was the only one that wanted to catch,” said Cassidy, who was named the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week for her play both behind at the plate. “I love it. It keeps me in the game and focused on every pitch. I wouldn’t want to play any other position.”

Cassidy has helped the Lady Sharks to district tournament appearances the past three seasons but they have not been able to return to the Lower State tourney since her freshman year. She hopes to help the team make one last run at it in the coming weeks.

“We definitely would be considered underdogs if we make it there but I think we’re going to surprise some people,” Cassidy said. “We normally peak too early, but this year we have been struggled to win but we’re working to peak at the right time.”

Cassidy is doing her part to improve the team’s chances. Her batting has improved significantly this season, particularly her ability to hit for power, and her consistency behind the plate proves a calming force for St. James’ pitching staff.

While Cassidy hopes to go out on top to finish her high school career, she already has her plans in place to play at the next level. She has signed with Division II Lees McRae (NC) College, where she will reunite with Carolina Forest pitcher Emily Merriam to form an all-Horry County battery.

“I used to play with her at Carolina Forest in the seventh and eighth grade and we played travel ball together,” Cassidy said. “I’m looking forward to playing college softball with her and all my new teammates, but first I want to have a great senior year (with current teammates).”

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