Hall of Famer Jennifer McCarthy Launched Fastpitch Softball Era for ABAC

March 27 2019
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March 27. 2019

TIFTON— Canadian Jennifer McCarthy was the first international player to play softball for the Golden Fillies of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.  She led Coach Donna Campbell’s team to Georgia Junior College Athletic Association (GJCAA) state fast-pitch titles in 1997 and 1998 when she was named the GJCAA Most Valuable Player both years.  She also became the first ABAC fastpitch player to receive National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-America honors in 1998. 

For her heroics on the softball field, McCarthy will be inducted into the 2019 class of the ABAC Athletics Hall of Fame on April 5.  Tickets to the 6 p.m. dinner in ABAC’s Gressette Gym are $40 per person.  There will be no tickets sold at the event.

The 1997 season marked the first foray into fastpitch softball for ABAC and for Campbell.  In Campbell’s first year as head coach of the Fillies in 1996, ABAC won the third of its NJCAA slow-pitch national championships.

“Jennifer was the first true fastpitch player joining a team of slow pitch players and a coach who knew very little about fastpitch,” Campbell said.   “She taught us the game of fastpitch.

“I was often asked about our early success in fastpitch and how we were able to win at a new game so quickly.  My answer was simple: Jennifer McCarthy.  If her name was on the lineup card, we had a very good chance of winning.”

  McCarthy was named to the All-Region team and the All-Tournament team in 1997 and 1998.  In 1998, McCarthy led ABAC to its first District C Championship and its first trip ever to the National Fastpitch Softball Tournament.  She won over 30 games as the ABAC pitcher and hit over .300 during both her freshman and sophomore seasons.

McCarthy earned a scholarship to Georgia College and State University where she continued her playing career and received her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2001.

“Jennifer was a totally selfless person,” Campbell said.  “She was a hard worker, humble, a gritty competitor and a player every coach dreams of coaching.  She had many qualities that made her special, but it was her love for the game, her teammates, and loyalty to ABAC softball that I remember the most  She was truly one of a kind.”

ABAC Athletics Director Alan Kramer said the 2019 Hall of Fame class also includes the 1968-69 men’s basketball team, former tennis star Lisa English Doherty, former football player and longtime high school coach Sidney White, former basketball player and college basketball coach Alfred Barney, and former baseball player and high school coach Terry Mixon.

The Athletics Hall of Fame dinner is a part of the 2019 ABAC Homecoming celebration.  For more information on Homecoming, interested persons can visit the web site at www.abac.edu/homecoming.

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