By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Now known as “The Change Over,” back in 2015 it was just a group of fresh faces trying to validate a veteran coach’s confidence in them.
Off to a slow start in 2015, the Brighton Lady Cardinals needs a boost, a shot in the arm some fresh blood. One of the first ninth graders to see action on the field that season was Currie McIntyre.
“This has been a good talented class,” Brighton Head Coach Robin Jacobs said. “When all these kids took over when they were in the ninth grade. We were like 3-15. All these guys came in and started playing. We went from 3-15 that year to like 27-17. It turned around really fast. They’ve been together all that time.”
One of the heart and soul players in that group has been McIntyre. So when it was her turn to join the list of Brighton Lady Cardinal seniors to sign a letter of intent, there was a large turnout. The loudest cheers coming from her teammates.
Also in attendance were her parents Jill and Arnold, sisters Anna, Jamison and Arlee, grandparents and coaches. They all celebrated Currie inking her letter of intent to join the Dyersburg State Lady Eagles. A combination of speed and athleticism, McIntyre made a name for herself playing behind the plate the past three seasons.
“When she was in the ninth grade, I can’t remember if she was going to actually be the catcher,” Jacobs recalled. “That position, it was an injury or something. So she had to take that role and she stuck with it. She’s caught for the last three years.
“The opportunity for shortstop came open this year,” he continued. “It was available and we needed somebody out there we knew could be reliable. She has always been reliable and done a good job for us. She’s always hit the ball well for us. We’re so happy about her being there. She’s willing to play anywhere as long as she can play.”
Now her next stop in her softball career, which began when she was about 5 years old, will be in Dyersburg.
“I’m ready to play,” Currie said. “I’m ready to take my talents to the next level.”
Other Lady Cardinals already heading to the next level are Ta’mya Johnson (Delta State), Kailey Hunt (West Alabama) and Hannah Benard (Dyersburg).
Benard’s and McIntyre’s college coach will be George White. White returns to the Lady Eagles, who compete in the TCCAA, Region VII of the NJCAA, after spending the previous 9 seasons as the assistant baseball coach. Coach “G” has a mind for the game after playing baseball.
He was a two-time First Team All-State selection in class 4A Missouri baseball during High School. After High School, he attended Mineral Area College where he was a First Team All-Conference and All-Region selection. After his stint at MAC, he signed with the University of Missouri-St. Louis. There he also earned All-Conference First-Team awards as a catcher. After college, he played four years with the Cape Girardeau Capahas.
McIntyre has an impressive resume’ as an All-District 13-3A catcher. She has one of the top averages in the batting order for Brighton. Her contributions helped the Lady Cardinals reach three Sub-States, win three District 13-3A titles and play in a pair of Class 3A State Tournaments so far.
“It was her own path, her own way,” Jill said of her daughter. “She started at a young age. She’s always been a leader out there on the field. Always been a very smart player. She knows the game. She’s just not a player.”
Arnold noted Currie has the game, athleticism and mind to succeed at the college level.
“Very vocal,” he added. “She knows where the ball is going and where it needs to go. This graduating class has been a very big asset to this high school. All eight of them. It’s going to be hard to fill all of their shoes next year when they level. Somebody is going to have to step up and I’m sure they will.”
It was Currie and the Class of 2018 stepping up in 2015 sparking the team to a championship.
“I was scared a little bit,” Currie acknowledged. “Thinking back to my first game, I was thrown in and I started playing like I always played. It all just started working together.”
The girls were together one more time to celebrate a signing. As the eye a third State Tournament, the Lady Cardinals seniors know that each signing adds to their legacy and “The Change Over.”
“It feels like I’m very accomplished with my high school career and taking it up to the next level,” McIntyre concluded.
By Thomas Sellers Jr.