Carey’s Fuller teaching kids softball skills|[06/25/07]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Brittany Fuller has spent a good part of her summer imparting knowledge to local fast-pitch players as a shutdown relief pitcher for the William Carey College Lady Crusaders.

The former Warren Central Lady Vike had a standout sophomore season as the Lady Saders’ primary reliever. She finished the season ranked nationally in NAIA in strikeouts per nine innings, runs allowed per game and saves.

Fuller said it was a challenge having to deal with tough situations.

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&#8220A lot of times it was bases-loaded and no outs. You have to have a completely different frame of mind than as a starter,” Fuller said. &#8220I seem to come in whenever we got into a bind.”

Fuller struck out 42 batters in 32 2/3 innings, which ranked 20th national in NAIA for strikeout ratio per nine innings.

&#8220I think I did pretty well against a tough schedule. Our league was pretty good. It was quite an experience being used as a closer,” said Fuller, whose team plays in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference.

William Carey coach Wendy Hogue said Fuller was a valuable part of the team.

&#8220Brittany had one bad outing for us this year and that was very early in the year. Since that one outing against Lee University, she has been light’s out,” Hogue said. &#8220Brittany’s role was to come in behind a starting pitcher once they run into some difficulty. Sometimes that was in the fifth or sixth inning, but sometimes it was the first or second – depending on the situation.

&#8220She never once came into a desirable situation. There was always at least one runner in scoring position and most times there were two with the heart of the lineup coming up. She was always ready when called upon and always did her job.”

Fuller finished 1-2 on the season with a 3.43 ERA. She gave up only 17 walks in 32-plus innings of work.

Ironically the Lady Saders’ starter who most often left Fuller in the dicey situations is her best friend on the team in Devin Wing.

&#8220We’re really good friends and we talk about softball all the time,” Fuller said.

During most of career at WC, Fuller played the outfield and left the pitching to perennial Vicksburg Post Player of the Year Lauren Anderson. But after Anderson graduated, Fuller had to step up as the Lady Vikes’ top pitcher in her senior season.

Fuller says her pitching these days is totally different than it was at WC.

&#8220My style has changed. The velocity is pretty much the same but my rise ball and change-ups are a lot better,” Fuller said. &#8220I altered my grip on the change-up and it now has a pretty wicked spin. It’s hard to hang on as a hitter to see it coming, especially coming behind the rise ball.

&#8220In high school the movement was like three feet, not a big deal, but now there is more of a fall off. I think that’s why I got ranked (20th) in the nation in strikeouts. That’s a pretty cool thing.”

Hogue says Fuller’s role should grow as she gets ready for her junior season.

&#8220Her role should stay the same for next year. She has become the most valuable pitcher on our staff,” Hogue said.

Because she is too old to play on a travel team, Fuller has spent her offseason teaching others, mainly the pitchers in the initial four-team Vicksburg High School League.

&#8220I’ve been coaching summer teams and working with my baby sisters and I’ve also worked with (Vicksburg High’s) Kristi Shelby,” said Fuller, whose sisters Mandy and Tiffany are Warren Central players.