ASU’s Collins shines on and off diamond

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 28, 2001

Ask Alcorn State University outfielder Shameca Collins why she received the team’s award for Defensive Player of the Year and she’ll give you a short, straight-to-the-point answer.

&uot;Just hustling.&uot;

Hustling best describes the Natchez native’s life. Whether it’s the softball fields in Lorman and Natchez or the classroom, the junior-to-be is as on top of things as a young woman can be.

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Despite Alcorn State’s 1-31 record, Collins enjoyed her sophomore season. &uot;You win some, you lose some. You learn from your losses,&uot; said Collins.

The rough season may jostle others, but Collins has remained tough. Her personal motto of &uot;Never give up&uot; kept her coming back each to day to practice and to the games. And she plans on returning next season to lead the Braves – hopefully to more wins.

&uot;As long as we get some good pitching, we should be all right.&uot;

Collins was a mainstay in the field for the Braves, starting 31 out of a possible 32 games at centerfield and third base, with center being her primary position. Only one player started all 32 contests.

Though she admits, &uot;I’ve got to work on my batting,&uot; Collins was solid in the field. She committed 10 errors, but posted eight assists. And her speed got her to more balls than most fielders would get, she said.

Collins fell in love with the game during her freshman season at Natchez High, where she was a four-year starter. &uot;(The players) really helped me out. They pushed me.&uot;

Now, she’s trying to get others to love the game. Currently, she’s coaching a 9- and 12- year-old team in the T.M. Jennings League, passing her knowledge of the game to others. The hardest part for Collins is grabbing the girls’ attention.

&uot;I try to get them interested, because that’s hard,&uot; she said. &uot;They like to talk. They like to socialize.&uot;

It’s also a struggle, for Collins, because the team is a little bit behind on the aspect of the game that is Collins’ strength: defense. &uot;As far as batting, that’s coming along. They’re not as active on the defensive side.&uot;

But Collins notes that she’s having fun and learning. &uot;It’s kind of learning for both of us. I try to learn from them.&uot;

Maybe the best aspect of the Shameca Collins story is her academic life. She expects to graduate in less than four years, majoring in accounting.

In her two years at Alcorn State, Collins has taken the maximum amount of hours per semester and has taken summer school classes the past two summers.

She decided to give herself a break from school this summer.

&uot;I want to go to USM (Southern Mississippi) and pursue a master’s,&uot; Collins said. &uot;I’m kind of thinking of becoming an IRS (Internal revenue Service) agent.&uot;

Some people may look at Collins’ life as &uot;busy&uot; but Collins would probably tell you she’s &uot;just hustling.&uot;