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Magna Vista's Savedge to play softball at Virginia Intermont College
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Magna Vista softball player Hannah Savedge (front row, second from left) signed a letter of intent Monday to play softball at NAIA Division I Virginia Intermont College. Pictured with Savedge during her signing are (front row, from left) mother Kim, father Richard, Va. Intermont head coach Eric Senter, (back row, from left) Magna Vista athletic director Mike Minter, principal Gracie Agnew and softball coach Brian Brinegar. (Bulletin photo by Chris Pride)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

By CHRIS PRIDE - Bulletin Sports Writer

Magna Vista softball coach Brian Brinegar has had the good fortune of coaching some talented players in his nine-year career at MVHS. However, none of his players have ever signed on to play college ball.

Until Monday.

And he couldn’t have asked for a better player than Hannah Savedge to be his first.

The senior captain of the Warriors this spring signed a letter of intent to play at NAIA Division I Virginia Intermont College in Bristol. Savedge was one of five Piedmont District players this season to make the All-Region IV first team, while also notching a PD first team selection at catcher.

“I think it’s huge for our program, but it’s huge for me too. I’ve been coaching (at Magna Vista) for nine years and (Savedge) is the first one that has signed on to play at college,” Brinegar said. “I’ve probably had talent before, but they just didn’t want to pursue softball in their college career. She’s driven and loves to play and I’m just so excited for her and her family.

“Hannah meant more to our program than anyone will ever know. She’s one that will never be replaced and it could take three or four people to take her spot. She called pitches during games and now I’ll have to go back to doing that. I think she set a standard for a lot of girls. Just talking to different coaches about her has been very humbling.”

It was Brinegar’s connection to a Va. Intermont graduate that helped connect player and school. Along with Savedge’s older sister, who also knew about the school, the fit seemed to be a perfect one for the catcher. She also fulfilled her desire to play college softball, something she said she’s always wanted to do since learning the game.

“Not only do they have a really good softball team, but their classes have teachers that are able to work one-on-one with you,” Savedge said. “I’m really going to miss my coach and the players I’ve been playing with, but it’s good too to have new teammates.”

Intermont head coach Eric Senter didn’t get to personally see Savedge play this spring with the Warriors — where she not only caught but made her first high school start in the circle when regular starter Jasmine Agee had to fight off an early injury. But Senter said he had one of his good softball friends in the area have a look and convinced him to sign her after what he saw.

While the Cobras have a talented junior class, which features their starting catcher, Senter still expects Savedge to see plenty of playing time.

“She can hit it and play and should play a lot. What we’re looking for her to do is play in every doubleheader and get accustomed to our pitchers,” Senter said. “One of my philosophies is that if you hit, you play. If she’s hitting better than the other catcher, then she’ll play. She’s a good hitter and a clutch hitter, so I think she’ll make a good addition.”

Brinegar also agrees that his standout catcher the last few seasons will have little difficulty getting acclimated to the next level of play.

“I really think she’s going to be a standout player because of her work ethic and desire,” Brinegar said. “She should adjust to the college game fine. I think Va. Intermont is going to be very happy and I told their coach that he won’t be disappointed.”

If there is one thing that Savedge might have to adjust to it’s better pitching than she saw in high school. While the PD featured its fair share of talented pitchers that possessed good velocity and location, Savedge said that picking up better bat speed will be important.

“I know that the pitching is way faster than it was in high school. I know I’ll have to get by bat speed up and be able to adjust to different pitches,” she said.

Virginia Intermont College 36-14 this past season to Cumberland University in the opening round of the NAIA national tournament.


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