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A leadership role can be somewhat difficult and hard to accept for a freshman.
East Webster catcher Autumn Frost had to be a leader this season after the departure of Swayze Hollenhead.
"Sometimes people don't want to listen to you because you are an underclassmen," Frost said. "I had to suck it up and get over it."
Frost was selected as the Starkville Daily News Fastpitch Softball Player of the Year.
"I expected her to fulfill that leadership role," East Webster head coach Meleah Brown said. "I thought they would look up to her the way they did Swayze. They did look up to her, but it was she was so young. I think in a couple of years, she will be a good leader because she will mature a lot."
Hollenhead is now playing for Mississippi State. Frost knew how much of a great opportunity it was to play alongside someone who was going to be playing at the next level, an elite level.
"I am not where I need to be as a leader," Frost said. "(Hollenhead) was a great one and I hope to follow in her footsteps."
Frost had a .446 batting average, five home runs, 37 RBI, a .470 on base percentage, an .880 slugging percentage, 41 hits, nine doubles and eight triples.
"I have had my funks," Frost said. "My dad helped me a lot more than anybody. Once I got out of my funk, I seemed to do well."
Those stats only back up Brown's confidence in her.
"She has been an excellent hitter," Brown said. "I am more confident in her than anybody. When she gets up there, I know she is going to produce a hit to score the run. She doesn't realize how good she is. I have told her several times this year 'if I was a coach playing against you, I wouldn't throw anything to you that is very good to hit.'"
Many people overlook the catcher on a team, but the catcher is lot like a quarterback. The catcher is involved in most plays, gets people in the right positions for first and third plays and bunt situations and is usually the only one who can calm down a pitcher who is having a rough time.
"Being the catcher is definitely one of the hardest positions on the team," Frost said. "It is the easiest place to be a leader because you have control over all the field."
Brown saw first hand the maturity that Frost has shown this year. She says that maturity has development greatly over this season.
"Over the last few years, she has been under the shadow of Swayze," Frost said. "She has never really got a lot of recognition. At the beginning of the year, she was still in the mindset that we still have Swayze and she didn't have to step up and be a leader.
"As the year went on, I had talks with her and I told her she needed to step. She did. She did mature over the season. She was calling timeouts and getting the girls in the huddle. She saw the way Swayze handled things. Like her calling timeouts and going to talk to the pitcher, that is something Swayze would do on her own."
The Lady Wolverines lost to Hatley in the third round of the playoffs preventing them from getting to back-to-back North State series.
In 2011, East Webster made it all the way to state before losing.
"After going to state last year and losing our pitcher, I expected we would make it a good ways," Frost said. "I wasn't expecting to go back to State."
Brown has a leader, catcher and good bat in the lineup for three more years. If anything, Brown is excited about the leader.
"She always wanted everybody to stand up and the dugout and cheer, no matter if we were winning or down," Brown said.View more articles in: