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‘Versatile’ Tori rewarded

A freshman starter at third base, Tori Etheridge completes a third-to-first putout during the 2010 Farragut Lady Admirals Softball season. The rising sophomore likely will become starting catcher in 2011.- File photo
Tori Etheridge might be too versatile for her own liking.

Starting at third base for coach David Moore’s Farragut High School Softball team as a freshman in 2010, Etheridge is projected as starting catcher in 2011.

However, “I like shortstop the best,” said Etheridge, named FHS Rookie of the Year in 2010 who has been selected to compete in Queen of Diamonds Showcase South in September at Winthrop University, Rock Hill, S.C.

Though Etheridge said catching “won’t be my favorite position, I’ll deal with it,” this rising sophomore is dealing with a whole different feeling about the Showcase.

“I was really excited to begin with; as it gets closer and closer, I’m getting nervous about it,” said Etheridge, selected for Showcase based on criteria including talent, academic record and coach recommendations among applicants from more than 30 states and two Canadian provinces.

“But I think it’s going to be fun,” she added. “It’s a really big honor. … It’s going to be really cool — go over there and meet some coaches and hopefully somebody will get interested in me.”

As a freshman Lady Admiral batting from fifth to seventh in the line-up, the 5-foot-7 Etheridge hit .287 with two home runs and 30 RBI.

Moore said, “Coming in as a freshman, she was just solid for us. Quick hands as a hitter. Good hands defensively, good strong, accurate arm. Flexible.”

Coming into high school, “She probably played more shortstop than anything,” Moore said. “Did a great job for us at third. She was our back-up catcher. Started off the year as a [designated player] for hitting, and [we] just decided we needed to put her in the line-up defensively.”

Moore said the move inserting Etheridge at third, by switching standout infielder Megan Harris from third to second base, “Probably strengthened us defensively, too.”

“I was pleased with her improvement and maturity,” Moore added. “She didn’t seem to let things affect her. That’s a good attribute for a freshman.”

Adjusting to high school varsity early in her freshman season, however, “I was really nervous, and I just didn’t want to mess up and let the team down,” Etheridge, 15, said. “But once I got to know how they worked, it all worked out and I got better and better with it.”

Moore said Etheridge needs to work on “hitting to the opposite field. ... In high school you’re going to get a lot of hard stuff away. If you try to keep pulling that pitch you’re just going to hit a lot of ground balls to short. She’s been working hard on trying to drive that pitch away.”

As a catcher, “She’ll probably have to work on endurance and getting a little bit stronger.”

However, “She’s got great upside,” the coach added. “One of the umpires out in Maryville was talking about Megan and Stephanie [Harris], and how good they were, and mentioned Tori as a freshman, that she could be the next one similar to them.”


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