Dickinson wins Big East Pitcher of the Year; Ladybirds well represented on all-conference team | The Enterprise
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Dickinson wins Big East Pitcher of the Year; Ladybirds well represented on all-conference team

Posted on June 23, 2022

School SportsSports
Southern Nash freshman Anna Dickinson was named the 2022 NCHSAA 2-A/3-A Big East Conference Pitcher of the Year.

Danny Dunston | Dunston Photography

Southern Nash freshman Anna Dickinson was named the 2022 NCHSAA 2-A/3-A Big East Conference Pitcher of the Year.

aschnittker@wilsontimes.com | 265-7807 | Twitter: @aschnitt53

The 2022 spring softball season was the first season of Southern Nash pitcher/third baseman Anna Dickinson’s high school playing career.

One might not have suspected that watching her in the circle for the 3-A Ladybirds. Dickinson posted a dominant season, tying for the 2-A/3-A Big East Conference lead in wins, leading the conference in strikeouts and posting the second lowest ERA. For her efforts, she received the conference’s Pitcher of the Year honor.

“It’s really special,” Dickinson said. “Me and my team have worked super hard. We’ve been really successful and we’ve worked really hard this year when people thought that we may not have the best team since we were really young.”

Dickinson finished the season with a 16-3 record, and posted a sterling .78 ERA.

Her command of her pitches served her well all year, as she fanned a whopping 219 batters with just 34 walks. Dickinson was one of three Big East pitchers to record a no-hitter in 2022.

“I just think her ability to locate is what makes her so effective,” said Southern Nash head coach Scott Collie. “She ended up with 219 strikeouts this year. She doesn’t throw 65, but she throws hard enough where she can locate her pitches, she can change speeds. She can move the ball in or out, up or down. That’s just one thing that really impressed me so much this year was her ability to locate pitches and put pitches where they needed to be to get people out, either via the strikeout or just playing to what we were trying to do defensively.”

While this was the first year of high school softball for Dickinson, who is playing travel ball for Team North Carolina this summer, she’s been playing the sport since the second grade.

Collie, who strives to stay connected with the Southern Nash Middle program and the players who will be future Ladybirds, said he’s known Dickinson and her family for a long time, and, while he knew he was getting a good player, she exceeded his expectations in year 1.

“I knew that she was going to be really good for us, but I had no idea she was going to be this good this soon. I think a lot of it just really boils down to her approach,” Collie said. “She’s very gifted. She’s just a really intelligent player. She just has a lot of physical skills, but being around her for the first time on a day-to-day basis and a game-to-game basis, the thing that I was impressed with the most was her mental approach. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing. If we’re just doing a drill in practice or if we’re in the cage or if it’s game night,if she’s doing anything softball related, she’s totally focused on the task at hand. That was one thing that really stood out to me this year.”

Dickinson also led the Ladybirds with a .403 batting average, tied for the team lead with 23 RBIs and scored a team-high 26 runs, but said she wants to keep working on taking a more patient approach at the plate.

The success she and her teammates achieved in year one has Dickinson excited for what the future holds.

“I think we’re going to have even more success than we did this year,” Dickinson said. “It’s really great to think about how we’ve already been so successful with such a young team, and with our team growing, how good we’ll look.”

5 ALL-BIG EAST PICKS

The Ladybirds were well represented on this year’s All-Big East team, placing five players, including Dickinson. Addison Brumfield, Kaylie Love, Carlee Beckham and Ariel Perry joined her, with Kelsey Jones grabbing an honorable mention nod.

The Ladybirds were tied with Roanoke Rapids for the most selections, and, as the co-conference champions, Collie was named co-conference coach of the year along with Roanoke Rapids’ Jimmy Powers.

Love finished second on the Ladybirds with a .395 batting average while driving in 11 runs and scoring 24. Brumfield posted a .373 batting average to go with 22 RBIs and 19 runs, Beckham batted .310 with 23 RBIs and 24 runs, Perry hit .264 with 11 RBIs and 19 runs and Jones hit .250 with 14 RBIs and 14 runs.

That group helped lead the Ladybirds to a 20-3 overall record, share of the Big East regular season title, Big East tournament championship and a trip to the second round of the NCHSAA 3-A playoffs.

What stood out about the Ladybirds’ core was its youth. Southern Nash started five freshmen, three sophomores and a junior this year. Of the all conference selections, Dickinson, Jones, Love and Beckham were all freshmen, and Perry and Brumfield were sophomores.

Collie effectively had to replace his top six players from last season, with five seniors graduating and junior Alexa Daniel graduating early to start her college career at Meredith. This young group stepped up to power the Ladybirds to an impressive finish in the first full, normal spring softball season since 2019.

“It was almost like starting over,” Collie said. “We had won three conference titles in a row. Probably the best team or the most talented team I’ve ever coached was the team that we had in 2020 and we only got to play six games due to COVID that year. But everybody that was a part of those teams had graduated. So coming into this last year, it was really like starting over. It was one of the more rewarding seasons that I’ve had as a coach in 26 years, just because of what we lost and then them coming in, being so young and playing at such a high level over the course of the season, it was really rewarding, really satisfying.”

The playoff experience the young Ladybirds gained in 2022 should serve them well moving forward.

“I think the teams we played gave us some really good experience, and I think it gave us something that we can look forward to and will know more of what we’re getting into for next year,” Dickinson said.

All-Big East Conference Softball

Player of the Year: Kalissa Williams, Roanoke Rapids

Pitcher of the Year: Anna Dickinson, Southern Nash

Coach of the Year: Scott Collie, Southern Nash/Jimmy Powers, Roanoke Rapids

Southern Nash

Anna Dickinson

Addison Brumfield

Kaylie Love

Carlee Beckham

Ariel Perry

Kelsey Jones (Honorable Mention)

Roanoke Rapids

Kalissa Williams

Karlee Hammack

Alana Mitchell

Lauren Garner

Susanna Odom

Logan Storey (HM)

Bunn

Lenita Bryson

Emily Clark

Gracie Hanna

Carlee Tart

Haley Hagwood (HM)

Nash Central

Alexis Hedgepeth

Maci Worrells

Lydia Hill

Abbygale Joyner

Payton Langley (HM)

Franklinton

Noelle Faulkner

Morgan Strickland

Chelsea Jones (HM)

Northern Nash

Ashley Brantley

Elana Griffin

Maegan Phillips (HM)

Louisburg

Greenleigh Gleason

Savannah Norris (HM)

Rocky Mount

Paris Evans

Davian Graham (HM)

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