Three years, two-time Gulf South Conference Player of the Year, 57 career home runs, and one national championship−Valdosta State softball sensation Courtney Albritton has put together quite the career.
Only a junior, Albritton made history in the fifth inning of the Blazers’ 7-1 win over West Georgia. Her 21st blast of the season staked her claim as the new home-run queen for VSU softball.
Coincidentally, in the game prior, West Georgia senior third-baseman Nicole Yancey set the GSC career home runs record with 58 homers.
Trailing Yancey by a single home run, Albritton will undoubtedly have a chance to set the GSC career mark and build a cushion during the remainder of this season and throughout her senior season.
“With the record, I try not to think about it at all,” Albritton said. “I just try to have fun and play the game. Obviously, I just want to win and if that’s part of winning, (then so be it).”
While Albritton’s on-field dominance is certainly impressive, head coach Thomas Macera lauds Albritton’s demeanor, leadership and influence on his club.
“She instantly gets the respect of the team because she’s a doer; she’s not a talker,” Macera said. “She’s an instant leader because she’s very humble; she’s very quiet and just goes out there and performs. She performs day in, day out−it’s not streaky, it’s not once-in-a-while, it’s every day.
“This young lady does everything in her power to make herself better, and that’s why she’s as good as she is,” Macera said.
Albritton’s consistency on the field is a product of the work she puts in on the practice field. Macera believes the willingness to work is what makes Albritton such a special player.
“Her work ethic is unbelievable,” Macera said. “[As a coach], you’d wish your whole ball club had that work ethic. She just never takes a day off, and she’s always, always working on her game.”
“When I see the things I need to work on, that’s the stuff I work on during my days off,” Albritton added. “I just enjoy softball, and I love to practice.”
The Sycamore, Ga., native has played in all 48 games for the Blazers this season and leads the GSC with a .445 batting average.
When asked if she feels any pressure as the team’s best player, Albritton’s bashful grin gives way to her beaming humility.
“I don’t consider myself the best player by any means,” Albritton said with a shy chuckle. “It takes a whole team to win a game and a whole team and coaching staff to win a national championship. We all work together and work hard each day.”
That teamwork has manifested itself in the win column as the Blazers have amassed 140 victories in the past three seasons (including the 2012 national championship) while suffering only 30 losses.
At 36-12 this season, the Blazers are navigating through the peaks and valleys of a long season, including a few hiccups on the mound.
“We’re playing well, (but) we’ve had our ups and downs,” Macera said. “We’ve had some pitching issues this year. It happens. Pitching is the hardest part of this game, and we’re trying to work through it. You’ve just got to keep showing up to the ball park and keep trying to find other ways to win.”
“Our expectations are always to win the last game,” Albritton added. “That’s still our goal now, even though we’re not doing as good as we usually do. We’re still fighting for it.”
This article was written by Shane Thomas.