Jackson Co.’s Madison Whitmire putting up staggering numbers
For opposing pitchers, Madison Whitmire’s early-season softball stats aren’t for the faint of heart — a .606 batting average, seven home runs, 20 RBIs and a 1.485 slugging percentage in just nine games.
For Whitmire the answer is simple: She’s thinking less at the plate and relaxing more.
“A lot more relaxed,” Jackson County’s junior catcher said. “Just getting in there and not worrying about the mechanics, ‘Oh, I‘ve got to do this, I’ve got to do that.’ Just getting in there and seeing the ball and hitting it and just focusing on that and doing what I do best.”
Whitmire homered five times and drove in 14 runs during the Panthers’ six-game stint in the Hawk-Bulldog Invitational during the first week of the season. She then went deep twice more against Hart County last week.
Whitmire is a huge part of why Jackson County is off a 7-2 start overall and tied for the Region 8-AA South lead with a 3-0 record under new coach Chessie Laird.
Though she might be more relaxed at the plate, Whitmire definitely has a strategy in mind at the plate, her coach said.
“Madison is a very disciplined hitter who goes up each at bat with a plan,” Laird said. “Many of our players are hitting well and she’s one of them, however I still think she has a lot to show for this season. She’s a team player who is always confident in our team and our goals and is definitely an asset to our team.”
Of course, Whitmire has had power in the past. She hit five homers as a freshman and five more as a sophomore last year. But Whitmire really started putting up power numbers during offseason travel ball this year when she homered 15 times over the course of an 80-plus game slate. Whitmire played in the ASA nationals as well. That entire experienced helped her mindset coming into this season.
“I guess ending there very well and just carrying it over to here,” Whitmire said. “I just relaxed and didn’t stress as much and just did what I can do.”
A second-team all-state selection last year, Whitmire is rarely away from softball.
She’s played the sport since she was six and year-round since she was 10. The only time when Whitmire is off is during December and January. Other than that, you’ll find her on the softball diamond.
“Softball is my life — 100 percent,” Whitmire said.
Whitmire is already drawing the interest of several Division I schools — Kennesaw State, Georgia State, Kentucky, Southern Illinois, South Alabama and Alabama-Birmingham, to name a few.
Whitmire hopes that if she can continue to put up good numbers and earn perhaps some all-state accolades, more colleges will come calling. Her dream school is the University of Alabama, a team she has long followed.
“It’s my goal,” Whitmire said. “It’s what I’m shooting for. Hopefully, I can achieve it.”
But above any individual accomplishments this year or in the future, Whitmire is a team player and is focused on how she can help the Panthers and Jackson County’s seniors have a successful year.
“This season, I definitely think we’re trying to commit to the seniors and give them a really good year and just doing what we can do,” Whitmire said. “We have a great ball club and a great team. I think we can really go far.”
And how far?
“Hopefully … I honestly think you’ll see us at state,” Whitmire said.
NOTES: Jackson County moved to 7-2 overall and 3-0 in Region 8-AA South play with an 8-0 win over Elbert County Thursday in five innings.
Leading hitters included Mason Garland (3-for-4, two singles, a double and a run), Victoria Fontana (1-for-3, one run), Jessica Baker (1-for-3, one RBI), Ashleigh Lance (1-for-2, double, one run), Kortnee Satterfield (1-for-4, double, two runs), Kelsey Turner (1-for-3, two runs) and Madison Whitmire (4-for-4, three singles, one triple, one run, two RBIs).
Satterfield picked up the win, facing 20 batters and only giving up three hits and no walks while striking out one.