The Parthenon

Herd softball powered by local talent

Alyssa Woodrum (left) takes the field prior
to a game against Miami (Ohio) at Dot
Hicks Field March 26, 2014.

Andrea Steele

Alyssa Woodrum (left) takes the field prior to a game against Miami (Ohio) at Dot Hicks Field March 26, 2014.

Amber Payne, Reporter

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Marshall University’s softball team has six players from West Virginia.
In the last few years, Marshall’s head coach, Shonda Stanton, has looked for local
student-athletes who are going to help the Thundering Herd do big things.
“Our goal is and always has been to secure the best student–athlete we can find
that is going to help us win in the classroom on the field and in the community,” Stanton
said. “I think when you look at our roster, we have done a fantastic job of finding
those student-athletes locally and in the state that bring a great pride to the team
and truly know what it means to bleed green. If you look at the success that they’ve
had, student-athletes from West Virginia have impacted our program tremendously.”
Sophomore outfielder Morgan Zerkle said she chose to attend Marshall to stay
connected with her family in Milton.
“I am close to my family and for them to be able to come out and watch my home
games, that is something special that not a lot of people get to experience,” Zerkle
said. “People in the community will walk up to me and know who I am. I think that
is special.”
Zerkle also said she is proud to play for such a successful team.
“The softball program has been really successful the last few years, playing backto-
back and being in the championship,” Zerkle said. “They have a really great coach.
The in-state academic scholarships, on top of softball, is all really good.”
Junior infielder Alyssa Woodrum said she feels it is important to stay in her home
state.
“I wanted to stay in West Virginia from the beginning,” Woodrum said. “I was down
to a couple schools, but it actually came down to the ministry part of Marshall. They
have a Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and there is a college youth group that I
wanted to be a part of that I couldn’t find at the other schools. So, it was a big deal.”
Woodrum also said her childhood dream played a lot in her decision to attend
Marshall.
“I have grown up watching softball here,” Woodrum said. “I have always wanted to
be a speech pathologist. There are only two schools in the state that have that program.
It was this or West Virginia University. I obviously don’t want to go to WVU, I
like the color green better. “
Freshman utility player Madi Marshall said her reason for choosing to attend
Marshall was more than softball.
“What really sold it for me was that they have the major that I was looking for,
which is biomechanics, which is not offered a lot of other places,” Marshall said. “So,
being able to do that and play softball was the total package to do what I want.”
All three of the freshmen softball players are proud of being from West Virginia
and playing with so many girls who are from their home state.
“It’s awesome because it’s us small town girls in such a big school,” Marshall said.
“We love it and we love where we are from. We wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Woodrum said she thinks all of the West Virginia girls doing big things for the
Herd have surprised people.
“It has surprised a lot of people and affected how our coach actually wanted to
play us,” Woodrum said. “It is not just we are West Virginia girls on the team, but we
are actually competing, starting and doing great thing for the team.”
Marshall said West Virginia softball players often get overlooked, but the current
team has made people think twice.
“It is just awesome to come from West Virginia,” Marshall said. “Being able to be
close and be from here, and growing up watching them, it is surreal. We are such a
powerhouse. We are predicted to win conference and it is all right here. It is such a
great feeling.”
Zerkle said she thinks having so many West Virginia recruits is great.
“In the past, she (Stanton) didn’t recruit local players as much,” Zerkle said. “West
Virginia is not a huge softball state. Most of the recruits are from California, Florida
and places like that. Its good to see that there is still talent here.”
Woodrum said she loves the tight knit community and support of Huntington.
“I would never ever choose to live anywhere but West Virginia,” Woodrum said.
“Huntington is just so great. I like the community, all the people here, the football
program, and being around that and the history behind it. I have been here for three
years, and I still get chills when I hear the ‘We are…’ No matter where it is.”
The softball team will continue to localize its team and staff.
Former outfielders, Ashley Gue and Samantha Spurlock, both from Huntington,
were lil sis members and key contributors. Gue works as the director of doftball
operations. Spurlock works in Buck Harless with softball directly.
Amber Payne can be contacted at [email protected]

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