ARTHUR — Shelby Frederick, a three-time all-Little Okaw Valley Conference Northwest Division softball player from Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond, is to continue playing that sport next year at Parkland College in Champaign.
Fredrick was planning to attend Illinois State University and not play softball when the Parkland coaches asked her to come for a visit. Frederick did and was offered a scholarship.
"I like how it is closer to home than Illinois State," said Frederick. "I really like the program, and I know a couple of other players that are going there and I am really excited to be a part of the program."
The Cobras are coached by Chuck Clutts, who is in his 19th and final year. He entered the season with a 737-308-2 (.704) record, including eight trips to the national tournament, as well as 11 Region 24 championship games.
Parkland's assistant coaches for this year — and the ones who will take over next year — are familiar names to the area: Dan and Kristi Paulson of Mattoon, who are also founders of Premier Fastpitch. Mattoon's Shelli Nolte, a former coach for Neoga as well as many levels of the Mattoon Pride, is also an assistant this year and will be next year as well.
"I thought I wouldn't get any offers to play," said Frederick. "When I did, I realized how much I love the sport and am excited to continue my softball career."
Currently on the Cobras roster are freshmen Bella Coffey and Bri Poehler, both Mattoon graduates along with Casey-Westfield freshman Kate Jones and sophomore Makenzie Ruppert of Sullivan.
Frederick, the daughter of Wes and Christy Frederick, starting playing softball when she was 8 and has played nine years of travel softball. She played for the Moultrie County Rush until she was 13 or 14 and since then has played for the Mattoon Pride, where she plans to play this summer.
Frederick is to be a pitcher at Parkland. At A-L-A-H, she has also played second or first base when she is not pitching.
Frederick was a first-team all-LOVC NW division pitcher last year for the 14-9 Knights who went 6-2 in the division. Her sophomore season she was also on the first team again as a pitcher. She helped A-L-A-H to a 21-4 Sweet 16 team, the furthest they had been since the 2004 Lovington-Arthur team also reached the Sweet 16. She was a first-team utility player as a freshman for the 14-11 squad. Jerry Lane has coached her all three seasons and is coaching this season as well.
In the last two seasons, Frederick is 21-3 on the pitching circle with 123 strikeouts in 152 1/3 innings and 40 walks. She has allowed 62 earned runs for an ERA of 2.84. At the plate she is batting .284. In three seasons, she has a record of 26-8.
"Denny Throneburg has been my pitching coach since I was young, and he has helped me a lot," said Frederick. "My dad (Wes) coached me for six years, and Stacey Cole with the Mattoon Pride is another coach who has helped me a lot."
Parkland was 23-32 last year and has seven sophomores on this year's team, including three pitchers.
Frederick said she knows she will go on to a university or college for academics (studying psychology), but has not decided if she will continue her softball career.
"I am just really excited to a part of the team with new coaches that will get the program going, and I am glad that they have faith in me to continue my softball career with them. It means a lot to me."