Categorized | Sports

Dyersburg’s White starts his recruiting with a pair of Lady Cards

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Dyersburg Duo

After a few years away from the Dyersburg State Baseball program, George White is returning to the campus to work on the diamond.

But this time White will be working with the Lady Eagles to rejuvenate the softball program. On Jan. 16 he and assistant coach Randy Dailey traveled down Highway 51 to Brighton High School to get a jumpstart on the recruiting Class of 2013. In one day, White inked utility players and big bats from Lady Cardinals Morgan Shaver and Lulu Smith.

“This being my first year, I’m trying to revamp the program there,” White said. “I was assistant baseball coach there for 10 years. That program is nationally ranked there every year. Getting out to a high school like this, you know they’re very good fundamentally, winning tradition. To get these young ladies here, they’re two of the best in this program right now.

“That will be big for our program,” he added. “They’re both very athletic. Morgan has tremendous power. And Lulu is known  in this area as one of the best players around. I’m very excited to get both of them, a big day for us.”

It was a big day for Shaver’s family with her parents Wendy and Randy Paul in attendance. For Smith she invited parents Brian and Jenny, brother BJ and grandfather Rip to the BHS Library for the signing ceremony.

“Anytime you can get your education paid for doing something you like is a plus,” Jenny said.

Jenny’s little girl feel in love with the game playing at the age of 4 with the Sweeties. Then as she got older her main coach became her Dad.

“She’s always played the different positions while growing up,” Brian recalled. “You can put her anywhere. I coached her every year when she started playing middle and high school ball. I was happy to be there.”

Brian then handed over the reigns to his daughter’s development to Brighton Head Coach Robin Jacobs. While in a Lady Cardinal uniform Lulu has seen time at pitcher, second base and outfield.  Smith was ready to play in position on the field in part to the training her brother BJ gave her.

She started to turn heads playing against boys at a young age keeping up with her brother.

Last year she made headlines with her bat leading the team in home runs including a game-winner in the District 13-3A Tournament.

Another big bat in the Brighton lineup the last couple of seasons has been Shavers.

“She’s got tons of potential,” Randy said. “Expect a lot of home runs is what I would say. She’s got lot of power. It’s just a matter of putting it all together. She’s going to show out.”

Shaver started to develop her skills in middle school while playing other sports. Her senior year at Brighton has already been busy with volleyball and basketball.

“She’s well rounded and dedicated,” Wendy said. “She puts a 100 percent effort in everything she does. She gives it her all.

“She’s a good person,” she added. “This day means a lot to me because she’s worked hard.”

Shaver said signing day meant a lot to her because she was able to give her mom a return on her investments from the years.

“My Mom is my No. 1 fan,” she said. “My Mom has always been there for me. She sat in the cold watching me play and in that summer heat when it’s really hot. She took off work early to take me to and from practice sometimes.”

Lulu said she can tell similar stories about her family’s sacrifices. And those coaching lessons from her Dad still stick with her weather she is playing volleyball, work in the classroom or on the diamond.

“Life doesn’t come easy,” she said of his main lesson. “You have to work for what you want in life. Especially having a parent being your coach, they’re harder on you because they expect more out of you. So I really do thank him for helping me be the best I can.”

Lulu said her Mother is her No. 1 fan and has always been there to cheer for her. Jenny said watching her daughter on the field over the years is like looking at her husband.

“She gets her competitiveness from him,” she noted. “That’s one thing, she’s so hard on herself. She pushes herself, it’s never good enough in whatever she does.

I think today just shows her hard work paid off and her love of the game,” Jenny continued. “This is exactly what she wanted to do. She wanted to go to Dyersburg because she wanted to go to school to teach special ed. And she gets to go to school and play ball too.”

She gets to start that new chapter in her life with a friend and teammate in Shaver. Over the years Shaver has been known as a good teammate on the field and in the dugout.

“She’s the life of the party,” Randy said. “She’s always cracking a joke and smiling. She’s never down. I’ve never seen her down. Today is a day for her to be up.”

Even Coach Jacobs was in a smiling mood seeing two more players sign to play college ball. And the veteran skipper said before Smith and Shaver head off to reshape Dyersburg, he has one more year to do something special with the duo.

“They’re two good ones,” he said. “We don’t try to send any out who aren’t. Lu is a very competitive player. And Morgan is just as competitive, just one is quieter and the other is a little louder. I think it’s a great fit for them to go there. They have a new coach and a new program. They’re trying to get to where they will improve their program and that’s what we’re trying to do with ours right now.

“Hopefully with them we’ll get right back in the thick of things,” Jacobs concluded. “Hopefully we’ll send two kids up there who will be winners for them. Morgan when she’s hot hitting, she’s just as good as anybody. Lu is too. Both are multiple players who can do anything. We’re just looking forward to the opportunity to get them on the field. Where, it really doesn’t matter. We just need them on the field to have a good chance to win.”

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