06/17/07 — Saints' Grantham signs with UNCP

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Saints' Grantham signs with UNCP

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 17, 2007 10:26 AM

DUDLEY -- Lynn Grantham needed some help.

The Southern Wayne standout wanted to continue her career at UNC Pembroke. So, she enlisted the assistance of her good friend Courtney Hill in an attempt to sway head coach Steve Johnson.

When the three met in Johnson's office, Grantham introduced herself and let Hill serve as the mouthpiece. Grantham quietly listened as the two talked since Hill had signed with the Braves last fall.

A few minutes later, Grantham and Johnson spoke. Johnson explained his displeasure from a disappointing spring, and said he was bringing in 10 freshmen. Though intimidated by Johnson's comments, Grantham became even more intrigued.

"He talked about how he was going to change things up a little bit," said Grantham. "He plans to do more conditioning and weight lifting, step the program up a little more than how it's been in the past."

At that point, Grantham knew she wanted to play at UNCP.

Johnson viewed videotape of the Saints' first baseman, liked her work ethic and signed her to a national letter-of-intent. Grantham, who turns 18 today, is the fifth Southern Wayne player to sign a college scholarship during head coach Brad Matthews' eight-year tenure.

Cameron Langston, who assisted Matthews last season, and Courtney Artis played at Division II Wingate. Summer Barrow and Karen Thornton each signed with Division II Mount Olive College.

Grantham nearly chose Mount Olive.

"Ultimately, I wanted a different location because I've always been around this area," said Grantham, who is undecided on a major. "It was a tough decision. I am excited about going to Pembroke and taking my game to the next level. I know it will definitely be different than what I'm used to."

UNC Pembroke, a member of the highly-competitive Peach Belt Conference, finished 22-32 overall. The Braves managed just three wins against league opposition.

Grantham anxiously awaits playing PBC foes.

"Once you get to the college level, you're going to have to get after it and play to win," said Grantham. "That's when you're playing the best of the best."

Matthews has no doubts Grantham can contribute.

"She's a team leader and she was like another coach for me because she knew how to push buttons on this team," said Matthews. "She's willing to learn, listens very well and realizes the team comes first. There is no 'I' in her.

"Even if she is having a bad day, she tried to pick everybody else up."

Grantham accepted the leadership role this season and admitted she learned a few tips from Thornton, a rising junior at MOC. The Saints posted a program-best 24 victories during the fast-pitch era and advanced to the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A playoffs.

The daughter of George and Debra Grantham of the Grantham community, Lynn batted a combined .301 during her junior and senior campaigns. She notched 144 putouts, 515 assists and committed just 11 errors during her varsity career.

Grantham earned all-Eastern Carolina Conference honors this spring and was named to the N.C. High School Fast-pitch Softball Coaches Association all-District team.

A standout player with the Hurricanes 18U traveling team, Grantham knows her speed and hitting must improve.

"I need to be more selective with my pitches and not get behind so much in the count," she said. "Hopefully when I get there, it won't be too much of an adjustment for me."