Vinson Hits Stride as GC Softball Nears Finish Line

Vinson Hits Stride as GC Softball Nears Finish Line

Ben Grunert | Staff Writer

GC softball star Samantha Vinson has heated up over the last few weeks. GC recognized the redshirt freshman for her efforts when she won Bobcat Athlete of the Week on April 13.

During the week of April 5, she went 7-for-15 at the plate with an impressive .467 batting average. The Bobcats went 4-0 during that stretch, sweeping Shorter and Lander on the road. Vinson’s efforts played a big role in securing the victories, and they gave her a spark of confidence for the rest of the season.

“My second game against Shorter gave me a pretty big confidence boost because I had been struggling for a little bit before that,” Vinson said. “In the first game of the Shorter series, I didn’t play very well, but in that second game, I was able to get back in a groove.”

Vinson serves as one of the offensive leaders for the GC softball team this season. After only batting .257 last year, she leads the team with a .364 batting average. She also gets on base at a significantly higher rate, improving her on-base percentage from .349 to a team-high .442 this spring.

Head coach Jamie Grodecki recognized her noticeable improvements at the plate.

“She has made some adjustments with her approach at the plate, but I think she has mainly matured as a hitter,” Grodecki said. “She understands how to make adjustments to different speeds and different pitchers who do different things. She might have made some small tweaks to her swing, but it’s more about having a better understanding of what she needs to do at the plate.”

In a season littered with COVID-19 game cancellations and postponements, the Bobcats have struggled to find rhythm with a 9-23 overall record. However, the young team holds no seniors on the roster. They have spent the majority of the season building chemistry to prepare for the next few years as players like Vinson take leaps in their game and continue to develop.

“This year is a growing year, and the girls are using this season to get better,” Grodecki said.

“We’ve hit bumps in the road with COVID and injuries, but it’s good to see them put their heads down and keep working. It hasn’t necessarily paid off for our record, but it is paying off for the girls individually, and it will pay off for the team in the long run.”

Vinson isn’t the only one gaining recognition for her offensive performances. Junior Katelyn Hobbs holds 19 RBIs this season, tied with Vinson for first on the team. She also has the most home runs with five on the season, and her aggressive style of play earned her PBC Player of the Week honors earlier in the season.

Hobbs expressed the help Vinson brings to the team when she is playing well and batting at a high level.

“Me and Sam bat pretty close to each other in the lineup no matter the order, and I know that we can count on each other to score and hit well if we’re on,” Hobbs said. “That makes it so nice having her in the lineup there with us.”

Vinson has put together an impressive campaign in her first full season as a Bobcat.

Nevertheless, she hopes to improve her game even more heading into next season.

“Although I lead the team in batting average, I still feel like I can do a lot better than I have this year,” Vinson said. “I want to be able to score more runs when there are people on base, and I want us to make it to the region tournament and possibly win it next year. I think that’s a big goal for us.”

The GC softball team will look to finish the season strong as they head to Flagler on May 1 for their last series of the spring.