06/20/09 — Anna Sullivan named softball Player of the Year

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Anna Sullivan named softball Player of the Year

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on June 20, 2009 11:16 PM

Athletes who excel during regular-season play and fade during the postseason are common in every sport.

Very rarely do athletes make their biggest impact when the stakes are raised.

Anna Sullivan is a perfect example.

Sullivan, a senior catcher, swatted three postseason home runs at crucial times and fueled Charles B. Aycock's run to the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A final four. That strong determination propelled Sullivan to winning the 2009 News-Argus Softball Position Player of the Year award.

"Anna is a great ball player," said second-year C.B. Aycock head coach Brad Matthews. "She is the best catcher that I have ever coached... She has a really good understanding of the game.

"She is a very competitive person and she gives 100 percent effort every night."

Sullivan called most of the pitches behind the plate, anchored a solid defense and batted clean-up. She showed moderate power during the regular season, but nothing prepared Matthews and his team for the power surge Sullivan provided during the playoffs.

She belted two home runs and collected a career-best six RBI against 2008 state champion South Central in a second-round playoff contest. Two games later, she went "yard" against No. 1-ranked D.H. Conley.

"I have never gone to the plate and tried to hit a home run," said Sullivan. "I was just focused on making a good swing and I hit the ball hard a few times."

Sullivan's success helped fuel the Golden Falcons as they reached the eastern regional final at Walnut Creek. The team emerged as the state's third-place squad.

"It's amazing when you have a player that's on fire how much better it makes the people around her," said Matthews. "Anna was hitting everything in the playoffs and she made the whole lineup that much stronger."

Sullivan wasn't bad when the Golden Falcons were in the field, either. In 30 games, Sullivan didn't commit a fielding error and earned all-ECC accolades.

Not fulfilled by her high school exploits, Sullivan has big plans for the months ahead.

"I am planning on playing some showcase ball over the summer," said Sullivan. "In the fall I will be going to Barton College and continuing my softball career there."

Sullivan will join C.B. Aycock teammate Cynthia Burroughs on the Bulldogs' roster. Barton finished the 2009 season with a 14-22 overall record and a 7-9 mark within Conference Carolinas.