Senior spotlight: Sage Atkins

Published 12:01 am Sunday, September 4, 2011

Adams County Christian School senior Sage Atkins waits for a pitch during the Lady Rebels’ game against Brookhaven Academy Tuesday evening. Atkins is the only senior on the Lady Rebels’ squad, and she’s splitting time between softball and girls soccer this fall. (Eric Shelton \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Christian School softball team was clinging to a one-run lead in the bottom of the fourth inning in its District 5-AA match up with Brookhaven Academy on Aug. 30, when Sage Atkins stepped to the plate for the Lady Rebels with two runners on base.

The senior centerfielder then did what seniors are supposed to do, and came up with a clutch hit to score both base runners and give ACCS a three-run cushion.

“That was a great game,” Atkins said. “It was a very uplifting game for us. Our team worked really hard, and just had fun. (Getting that hit) was really good, I was actually proud of myself, because I get nervous when it comes down to the end of the game.”

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Every team has senior leaders it turns to in big situations, but with ACCS and Atkins the situation is unique, because she is the only senior on the team and the lone Lady Rebel to hold the title and responsibility of senior leader.

“It’s hard (being the only senior) because you have to put out leadership by yourself,” she said. “Leadership is kind of hard for me. I don’t really think I’m a great leader. But I do enjoy it, being the only senior.”

Atkins is also the only senior on the Lady Rebels soccer team, and head coach Jim Allgood said despite her modesty, Atkins is a very good leader.

“She basically took the bull by the horns to be the main leader, and I mean she took the ball and ran with it this year,” Allgood said.

“Sage seems to be very focused as one of the leading soccer players on the team, and her drive is making the other ladies play to their potential. I just think she’s totally focused as a senior, and I think she’s having a lot more fun this year.”

Both of Atkins’ coaches said there have been times when she realized what her role needed to be in a game before they did.

“Sage is real good about understanding her role on the team,” ACCS softball coach Forrest Foster said. “She’s an extremely good athlete and can play anywhere. Most of the time when you get that age, you hope to be playing in the infield.

“In baseball and softball you better be strong up the middle, and she has anchored our centerfield. We had a game or two she played in the infield, and we had a mistake or two and she said, ‘Coach, I need to be out there don’t I?’ and I said, ‘Yes you do.’”

Atkins said it is easy for her to find and accept her role on her teams because of her relationship with her teammates.

“I love my teammates, every last one of them,” she said. “They always work hard, and it’s always fun to go out and play with them. Even if you’re having a bad day, they make it fun.”

Atkins said juggling both sports during the fall is hard to do.

“It’s very difficult sometimes because you have to choose one if both are being played (at the same time),” she said. “I don’t want to miss either one, so I alternate if they play at the same time. But, they are getting better with the schedules.”

Atkins said softball practice is usually right after school, and soccer practice usually starts later in the evening.

“I’m tired by the time I get to soccer, but I try to put forth my best effort,” she said.

Atkins said she started playing both sports when she was little.

“I’ve always played,” she said. “I’ve played soccer since I was little bity, I think 6 or 7. I’ve always had a passion for softball and soccer. I’ve always loved to run.”

Atkins received some interest this summer from Copiah-Lincoln Community College soccer coach Trey Woodham, and she said she is very interested in an athletic career in college.

“I really would like to go play one or the other somewhere,” she said. “I’ve been working hard on both, but it’s hard to juggle both and school.”

Atkins said she would probably pick one sport to play in college, and right now she is trying to focus more on soccer because of the interest she is getting from Co-Lin.

Until then Atkins said she hopes to have a fun and successful senior soccer and softball season.

“I’d love to make district in softball,” she said. “I just want to have a good, fun year. I love being a senior because I get to go up as captain and talk to the other girls. It’s just always fun because you’re looked up to, especially by the younger girls.”