Softball ties conference

For a player that was not recruited at her 2007-08 position coming to North Carolina A&T, freshman Jennifer Luper has exceeded expectations in her first tenure as an Aggie athlete.

Luper has turned into a force to be reckoned with at the mound this season, and broke a school record for most wins in a season Sunday afternoon in a tripleheader series A&T dominated against Norfolk State in Aggie Softball Complex.

“I don’t even know if my coach knew that I pitched like I do because she didn’t really recruit me for pitching,” said Luper . “She recruited me for playing the field, so I had no expectations this season besides going out and playing the best that I can.”Although she would not accept full credit for her team’s 7-4 and 12 -4 victories against Norfolk State in the opening and closing game respectively, Luper was a highlight for both wins.

In game 3 Sunday, she ended the game striking out the first two batters in the seventh, just before forcing the last out in a groundball, and opened the series allowing only six hits in game 1.

“I don’t win by myself,” said Luper. “It’s this big thing that’s due to that talent and experience that we have on our team right now that’s doing it and will determine our potential in where we will go,” said Luper.

This talent was evident for her in the tripleheader’s 31 hits that A&T recorded this past weekend.

Trailing 2-1 at the bottom of 4th Sunday afternoon, A&T started a slugfest beginning with freshman Ryan Hill’s single to center field, and ending with sophomore Jessie Larson’s RBI single to right field that helped the Lady Aggies assume the lead 7-2 before documenting the win.

Luper also witnessed the same in success at the plate from her teammates in game 1 after Norfolk State allowed 18 hits from the Lady Aggies, with the team only surrendering one strike out.

Then she has observed experienced veteran players such as senior Sylvia Felder lead the way.

In game 2 Saturday, Felder was a significant factor in the Lady Aggies 8-0 win, finishing 3-3 with six RBI’s at the plate.

“We’ve really come together,” said Luper. “By MEAC tournament time coming up in a couple of weeks, we should really do really good.”

Luper(19-4), is now the all-time pitching leader in a single season wins at A&T, and was not aware of gaining the school record before she was informed by the public address announcer after Sunday’s victory.”I didn’t even know there was a school record,” said Luper. “I didn’t know who had school records and what they were. I hadn’t really thought about it. I’m just trying to get wins.”

Her effort in collecting wins has resulted in the Lady Aggies (29-15-1,8-3 MEAC) record, which was second in the conference.But with the Florida A&M Lady Rattlers defeating the Bthune Cookman Lady Wildcats, the Lady Aggies were able to take a share of the MEAC Southern Division title.Although BCU will be the number one see, A&T wrapped up the number two spot.”She’s been tremendous with her pitching and she’s been pretty much consistent with her pitching,” said head coach Mammie Jones. “She’s been a valued asset to the team, and I can see her being more important years to come.”

Two seniors, oufielder Chaola Simmons and infielder Sylvia Felder were also honored on senior day.

Luper will try to lead her team into the post season on a strong note, in the season ending battle Wednesday against North Carolina Central at Aggie Softball Complex. Gamtime will begin at 2 p.m..

  • Daniel Henderson