The Lady Raiders, who are saying good-bye to NFPCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) All-American and all-time great Heather Robey, took a step toward filling the void by signing Kelly right-hander Whitney Beggs to a letter of intent on Thursday.
Beggs, an all-stater who carried the Lady Hawks to the Class 2 state championship, should step right into a rotation that loses, arguably, the best pitcher in program history. And Beggs, who compiled a 13-3 record with a 0.61 ERA, should be up for the challenge.
"She's got to be one of the top pitchers in the state," Three Rivers coach Jack Childress said. "She's going to be able to contribute for us right away, I'm sure. She's going to be a big part of us next year."
Beggs is Childress' fifth signee of the offseason. She is joined by Kelly teammate Jessica Burnett, Greenville catcher Pam Condray, South Pemiscot's
Ashley Booker and Naylor pitcher Magen Young.
Childress said there is an ongoing "frantic search for a shortstop" to round out what appears to be a strong recruiting class.
Beggs was at her best in the postseason for Kelly. She won both games at the state tournament, including the 1-0 championship victory over Bishop LeBlond.
In that game, Beggs fanned eight batters and was one out away from a perfect game.
"She has great movement, several different pitches and the amazing thing about it is she has great control," Childress said. "She's not a thrower, she's a pitcher. She throws the ball 56-58 (mph), but we've found out over the last several years our best pitchers are those than can spot the ball and have good movement."
Beggs also contributed offensively for the Lady Hawks. She had a .344 batting average and knocked in the lone run of the title game with a RBI single to left field.