Tag: Stephanie Lewis

Leadership helps guide JSU student-athletes to give back

By Chris Allen Brown/Associate Editor

Don’t be alarmed if you see a 7-foot male wielding a chainsaw around Jacksonville, it’s just Norbertas Giga. If you spend more time looking around, you might even see several Jacksonville State volleyball players attempting to roll a fallen tree trunk to a more convenient spot.

Before asking why you may see these sights, maybe the first question should (jokingly) be towards JSU strength and conditioning coach Gavin Hallford and if helping move trees counts as their workout for the day.

The reason that should be the first question is simple — because asking why JSU student-athletes are helping is pointless.

Why? Just continue to look around.

There’s JSU head football coach John Grass with a chainsaw. JSU softball assistant coaches Mark Wisner and Julie Boland working on a patch of land. JSU head volleyball coach Terry Gamble, his son Kyle and daughter-in-law Reagan were all helping. JSU associate athletic director for media relations Josh Underwood is there, too.

Are you beginning to see the picture here?

The reason there are so many JSU student-athletes helping around campus is because the desire to help starts at the top; it starts with those with great influence.

There’s a reason Malcolm Drumwright and Mohamed Abuarisha came straight home from last week’s College Basketball Invitational semifinal game and immediately went to work. There’s a reason Jamie McGuire, Cadi Oliver, Stephanie Lewis and Sallie Beth Burch dropped what they were doing elsewhere around the state to come back home to help.

Because it’s what they were taught to do. Helping those in need has become a staple of what Jacksonville State University is all about.

For years now, the communities surrounding Jacksonville State have traveled to support these student-athletes during sporting events, so it should come as no surprise that these same players … humans … are working around the city to help give back, to help rebuild but most importantly to help show they care.

Think back to JSU softball’s annual Fan Day. Head coach Jana McGinnis rarely does much talking at the event, but when she does, there’s always a ringing statement that’s forever imprinted on minds:

“I hope you (the fans) will consider us as your favorite team because this is home and we are always here for you.”

It may take several months — maybe a year even — before the restorations on Pete Mathews Coliseum, University Field and Rudy Abbott Field are completed, so when the football players are lined up to kick off the 2018 season, just remember to be sure to be at Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium to cheer on those guys who came to help when you needed it most.

JSU Softball reaches 25th win of season

Matt Reynolds/JSU Sportswire
Matt Reynolds/JSU Sportswire

The JSU softball team put their 25th win of the season in the record books as they defeated Alabama State 6-1 Tuesday afternoon.

Emily Woodruff led the way in runs with two. Jordan Bullock, Ella Denes, Caitlyn Sapp and Stephanie Lewis also contributed to the win with one run each.

It didn’t take JSU long to score their first runs of the game. At the bottom of the first, with help from Sara Borders and Bullock, Woodruff scored her first run of the game. Not long after, Bullock was behind her with her own run.

With no score from Alabama State as they moved into the bottom of the second, Lewis homered as soon as she stepped up to bat. It put the score 3-0 in JSU’s favor. 

Again with help from a Borders’ double, Woodruff scored her second run to put the Gamecocks up by four.

The third inning proved fruitless for both teams. Finally, as the fourth inning began, Alabama State scored on a Carly Evans homer. It was their only run of the game.

The Gamecocks wouldn’t score again until the bottom of the fifth when Sapp sent a home run up and scored. Right behind Sapp was Denes who bumped the score up to 6-1 in Jacksonville State’s favor. It would prove to be the final runs of the game as both Alabama State and JSU went scoreless in the sixth.

The Hornets went into the seventh hanging onto hope but it was quickly stifled. The Gamecocks would walk away with the victory.

JSU moves to 25-11 on the season and 8-3 in conference play. At the moment, they sit second in the OVC standings just behind SIUE. The Gamecocks head to Cookeville, Tenn. next to play Tennessee Tech in a three-game series starting April 11 at 1 p.m.

Rebekah Hawkins
Staff Writer

Gillespie led Gamecocks in sweep over Tigers

Matt Reynolds/JSU Sportswire
Matt Reynolds/JSU Sportswire

It was a marvelous weekend for the Jacksonville State softball team as they faced Ohio Valley Conference opponent Tennessee State and managed to win in all three games over the weekend for a sweep.

The Gamecocks had already pulled off a 10-0 victory in game one and then a 4-0 victory in their second game. The final game of the weekend series saw the Tigers finally manage to score a run against the Gamecocks before they scored six to take the final win of the series.

It was certainly a winning weekend for Whitney Gillespie who helped lift the Gamecocks to a victory with her homer in the fourth inning. She also struck out four of Tennessee State’s batters with her pitching. Ella Denes also contributed to the win with two runs of her own.

It wasn’t until the bottom of the second inning when points were put on the board by either team. The Gamecocks scored first on Denes’ first run of the game after a Cadi Oliver double. At the top of the third, Tennessee State would score it’s first and only run of the game which broke a scoreless streak by the Tigers that goes back to 2013.

The game stayed tied until the bottom of the fourth when the Gamecocks got down to business and scored four runs in the inning. It began with Gillespie’s homer at the beginning of the inning.

After that, it took a double from Taylor Sloan to get the ball rolling that would eventually send Denes to home plate with her second run, and Oliver right behind her with the Gamecock’s third run of the fourth inning.

The final run of the fourth came after a Stephanie Lewis hit that would get Taylor Sloan out but send Savannah Sloan home for the run.

The Gamecocks were up 5-1 as the top of the fifth inning began. No one would score again until JSU sent Jordan Bullock into home with the sixth and final run of the game at the bottom of the sixth inning.

TSU’s lone run was scored by Tayler Shimizu who stole home for her contributing point after her teammate Courtney Gearlds took second.

JSU moves to 23-8 while being undefeated in conference play. They prepare for a set of away games against SIU Edwardsville on April 3. The Gamecocks play Eastern Illinois the following day. They look to continue their undefeated streak in OVC play.

Rebekah Hawkins
Staff Writer

JSU Softball sweeps Cleveland State in home opener

The Gamecocks came home to University Field for the first time this season and swept opponent Cleveland State by scores of 6-2 and 5-3.

In game one, Whitney Gillespie led the team in home runs with two. Behind Gillespie was Sara Borders with one. Pitcher Taylor West also had four strikeouts in the opening game against CSU.

Game two saw Cadi Oliver hit two home runs in front of leader Gillespie who also had one.

At the top of the first inning, CSU took the lead early when Cynthia Wood homered to center. The score went up 2-0 in the Vikings’ favor before the Gamecocks were given an opportunity to shine. It took no time for Borders to send a homer up to make the score 2-1 at the end of the first inning.

Cleveland State didn’t score any points in the second inning which led to the Gamecocks tying it up on another Gillespie home run in the bottom of the second. The Vikings were also scoreless in the third, so JSU moved ahead with runs by Stephanie Lewis and Jordan Bullock. They were helped along by Taylor Sloan and Borders who both singled to get their teammates to home. 

The score moved up to 5-2 at the end of the third and led into two scoreless innings for both teams. It was at the bottom of the sixth when the Gamecocks had their final home run of the game by Gillespie.

The final score was 6-2 after CSU failed to score again in the seventh.

The second game saw the Vikings fail to score until the top of the fourth inning. By that time, the Gamecocks were already ahead by five. The Vikings managed to score another run in the top of the sixth.  After JSU went scoreless in the bottom of the sixth, they did not score again. The game ended with the Gamecocks ahead 5-3. 

JSU moves to 15-7 and will travel to UAB to play the Blazers before they come home to play their OVC opener in a doubleheader against UT Martin.

Rebekah Hawkins
Staff Writer

Softball finish Citrus Classic with win

Gamecock freshman Peyton Barthel hit her first career home run and sophomore Logan Green propelled the Gamecocks to a 8-1 win over Campbell on Sunday.

Barthel’s pinch-hit, three-run homer in the fourth inning broke the game open, while Green cruised in the circle to cap a 3-2 weekend for the Gamecocks (9-6) at the Citrus Classic at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex.

The win was JSU’s second in two days over the Camels who entered the weekend with just two total losses.

Green, who is 4-1 on the season, scattered three hits and allowed just one un-earned run in her complete game win. She struck out five batters and did not issue a walk in a game where she retired the first 11 and 15-of-16 batters she faced.

Sophomore Stephanie Lewis drove in a pair of runs, while senior Savannah Sloan went 3-for-3 at the plate and scored twice. Sophomore Taylor Sloan and Freshman Jordan Bullock each went 2-for-3. The Gamecocks rattled off 11 hits on the Camel pitching.

Courtney Roberts suffered the loss for Campbell after surrendering six runs on eight hits in four innings of work. Julia Calicutt tossed the final two innings, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks.

JSU got on the board in the second with back-to-back RBI doubles from Sloan and Lewis, then a sac fly from Lewis in the fourth set up Barthel’s big blast. The freshman from Decatur, Ala., took Roberts over the wall in left to make it a 6-0 JSU advantage.

A bases loaded walk to junior Ella Denes and a pitch that hit pinch hitter Leila Chambers added the final two runs in the sixth, and Green closed the door with a perfect seventh inning.

The win came a day after JSU handed Campbell a 6-2 defeat behind freshman Whitney Gillespie’s complete game and a two-hit game from Emily Woodruff, Gillespie, Savannah and Taylor Sloan.

The Gamecocks won 3-of-5 with two wins against Campbell and a win over Virginia . The two losses were to Arkansas (0-4) and a loss to Elon in which Taylor West pitched a 14-strikeout complete game performance.

JSU was scheduled to host No. 3 Alabama to open the home schedule. Due to weather conditions for Wednesday, officials have decided to cancel the game. No makeup date has been issued at this time.

The Gamecocks return to action Mar. 4 when they travel to take on Samford University in Birmingham.

Dillon Floyd
Staff Writer