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Weaving Her Way to the Top

Posted 10/15/2007 by Devon Fitzgerald

Senior softball star Amanda Weaver shines on the diamond.

by Devon Fitzgerald

amanda2-web.jpgThe TJ softball team lost a few key seniors last season, but if there is one thing Coach Jackson is happy about, it is that Amanda Weaver is back for her fourth and final year of Spartan softball. It has been a long and rigorous road filled with many ups and downs, but Weaver has been through it all on the diamond, literally.

    She started her career playing second base as a freshman, but since then she’s bounced around from shortstop to catcher, and now she starts at first base. “Playing all these positions has given me more respect for the game of softball,” Weaver said. Clearly, this Lady Spartan has an abundance of unique talent that she brings to the field. Since the age of 7, she has played the game of softball with a passion. “I just started because it was something to do,” Weaver said. “I liked it and it was fun, so I kept playing and practicing, and I love it now.” Weaver believes she was destined to be a softball player, as her mom also played in her younger years.

    A senior now, Weaver is used to the never ending combination of school and softball, but it wasn’t always easy for her, especially as a freshman on the varsity level. “I felt out of place in a way. I knew the girls and got along with them, but playing at the varsity level was a much different experience; I just didn’t want to let them down.” Weaver later proved that she was varsity material when she became one of the better hitters and fielders on the team. Former teammate Ivory Allen (shortstop at the time, now a centerfielder for Colorado State University) took the young Weaver under her wing, developing a friendship and becoming a mentor. “Ivory and I had to build chemistry on the field and we became best friends in the process.” 

    Her freshman year, the team took second in the Denver Prep league and qualified for the regionals tournament. The 2004 Lady Spartans lost in the first round of the playoffs, but showed good signs of things to come. “It was a great experience because we weren’t very good that year, but we were able to come together and form a pretty solid team,” said Weaver. With one year under her belt, Weaver was looking forward to her sophomore season. Her friendship continued to grow with Ivory off the field, but more important was the chemistry being built. “That year we had almost everyone returning and we were excited about the upcoming season,” Weaver said.        

    The Lady Spartans continued their growth as a strong softball program as they finished third in the Denver Prep League in 2005, and for the second year in a row qualified for regionals. Despite their vast amount of talent and experience, the girls suffered a first round loss and were not able to make it past regionals. “It was disappointing just because we had so many good players, but at the same time I reminded myself that we were mostly juniors.”  With two years down and two more to go, Weaver started to realize that her softball career was coming closer to the end each day. In 2006, the team was loaded with talent, including an All-State Shortstop in Allen. “We knew we were going to be good because we had eight of nine players returning, and we had high expectations,” Weaver said. The Spartans lived up to the hype, taking first place in the Denver Prep League for the first time in ten years. Amanda was second on the team in RBIs with 38, and second in runs scored with 30. The Spartans hosted regionals last year and prevailed past Mountain Range and a tough Greeley West team.  But again the girls were taken out in the first round by Liberty. “It was really hard to deal with the loss, just because I knew we could have done better,” Weaver said. “I felt bad for the seniors because it was their last game.”

    The culmination of all three years has now led to Weaver’s final hurrah as a senior. All her practice, hard work, and time comes down to this, her final season as a Spartan softball player. “I’m looking forward to it. With all the young players, I hope they can learn from me like I learned with the varsity girls as a freshman,” she said. The season is all about improving on last year’s effort, but replacing the seniors that left has been difficult. "We lost a lot of seniors, but we do have some good players filling their shoes,” Weaver said. “If we just go out and play and have fun we can be just as successful as last season.”

    TJ softball Coach Kyler Jackson said, “Amanda is going to be a key ingredient in our success this year, and will be in a very important leadership role as well with all the underclassmen playing.”

    The final season has made Weaver look back on her experience as a TJ softball player. “I have learned so much and made so many friends. I love this sport and I am glad I was able to come to a school where we could to compete with other teams in the state. I’m sad that the season has to come to an end, but it is inevitable.” And with the end of her TJ career, Weaver wonders whether this will be the end of her softball playing forever. “I want to get a college scholarship of course, but I can’t really worry about that now. I just have to focus on this season and do my best.” With a career batting average of over .400 and so much experience, a college scholarship is not out of the question. Obviously the hopes are high for  Weaver and the Spartans this season. With her leadership, the possibilities are endless for this young team. The end of her TJ softball career may be soon approaching, but the future is bright for this astonishing softball star.