When we started looking into who we were going to miss the most on the Down South diamond the first two names were easy. A pair of the most dominate pitchers the Southeast has to offer took to the stage this last year and all the opposing teams were lining up to give graduation presents to both players. Courtney Poole of North Georgia and Carley Tysinger of Catawba have wreaked havoc upon the rest of the Southeast District for the past four years. This season when opposing coaches look into Catawba and North Georgia’s dugouts they will be happy to see both helping coach and not tearing through their lineups in the circle.
Poole leaves North Georgia with a career record that is second to none. With her 2015 National Championship ring & National Player of the Year award, she also leaves as a 3 time All-American, 3 time PBC Conference Champion, 4 time First Team All-Conference winner as well as the 2 time PBC Pitcher of the Year (2015, 2016) and PBC Freshman of the Year in 2013. If those are not crazy enough Poole also earned Pitcher of the week 15 times and 12 of those times were in the past 2 years. She averaged winning Pitcher of the Week 50% of the time in 2015, 2016. And these are just a few of her accomplishments. When checking out her bio you will see 60 individual awards she received during her playing career.
Poole’s stat line also leaves with her claiming 12 Peach Belt Records for overall play. Poole holds Most Appearances, Season 58 (2016) & Career 185; Most Starts, Season 56 (2016) & Career 164; Most Complete Games, Season 47 (2016) & Career 141; Most Wins, Season 53 (2016) & Career 145; Most Innings Pitched, Season 378.2 (2016) & Career 1126.2; Most Strikeouts, Season 445 (2016); and Most Shutouts, Season 24 (2016). Poole also logged 5 career no hitters with two coming back-to-back in a double header against Georgia Southwestern on 3/16/2016.
Tysinger was no slouch either while dominating the SAC she was named to the All-Conference, All-Tournament and All-Region team all 4 of her years. She also walked away as a 3 time CoSIDA All-American and 2 time NFCA All-American. Tysinger was named SAC Pitcher of the Year in 2013, 2015, and 2016 and was Freshman of the Year in 2013. This was all in route to winning the SAC tournament 2 times in 2015, and 2016, as well as being named Tournament MVP both years.
Tysinger leaves Catawba with 102 wins and a 71.3 winning percentage, her ERA was never above 1.60 in a season and her lowest was in 2016 with a 1.04 ERA. Pitching 968.2 career innings at Catawba she left with a program best 1355 strikeouts including her 413 in her senior year. She also only walked 248 batters and in all four seasons never allowed opponents to hit above .200 when facing her. Leaving with her name etched in Catawba’s record book she is easily remember as one of the most dominate pitchers in the last 4 years.
While everyone is celebrating these two pitchers and all of their accolades we have a few runner-ups in the most missed graduates. Outfielder Kelsey Akers of Mount Olive, Catcher Taylor Laskey of Wingate and Second baseman Meredith Heyer of North Georgia will also be missed by their respective teams.
Akers of Mount Olive left being named All-Conference in 3 of her 4 seasons as well as being named First Team All-Region in 2016 and Second Team All-Region in 2014. Akers helped guide the Trojans to their first two NCAA Tournament Appearances in 2013 and 2014. She also holds the record from most hits in as season (80), most runs in a season (50) and the career stolen base record (79) at Mount Olive.
Laskey of Wingate was named All-Conference in 3 of her 4 seasons as well as being named All-Region 2 times. Laskey improved her batting average each year with a .349 in 2014, a .353 in 2015 and a personal best .372 her senior season. She leaves hitting 31 career homeruns a Wingate career record.
Heyer of North Gerogia sparked in her last season as a Nighthawk. Posting a ridiculous .415 batting average she left UNG with a .316 career average. Heyer also came with power hitting 7 of her 10 homeruns and 49 of her 90 RBI in her season campaign. In 2016 Heyer was named an All-American, All-Region, and All-Conference player.
While we recognize a few we would be remised to not thank all the seniors who graduated. Each player left the Southeast Region better than when they started. Each one brought something special from great games, great plays and often times better teammates. So raise you bat and wish them all the best of luck. But now it’s time to talk about the future…
Next up in Down South Season Preview: Top Southeast Sophomores