Burroughs patience proved crucial
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on June 17, 2012 1:52 AM
Don't let the roster fool you. Meredith Burroughs was technically a sophomore this season at Charles B. Aycock.
Her stats suggest otherwise.
The slugging first baseman tied a state record with 19 home runs and had a team-high .545 batting average as the Golden Falcons captured the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A state championship.
For her efforts, Burroughs is the 2012 News-Argus All-Area Softball Player-of-the-Year.
One of three sophomores on Aycock's roster, Burroughs blended in seamlessly with the Golden Falcons' five senior leaders. She recorded team-highs in hits (48), RBI (48), runs scored (48) and on-base percentage (.697). Burroughs also tallied 13 multi-hit games and walked a staggering 40 times.
"I thought if they pitched to me this year I wanted to have a good season," Burroughs said. "I usually just try to put the bat on the ball and not think about hitting the ball out. The key to drawing walks is if you don't like the pitch, you don't have to swing at it.
"The bigger the games got, the better the pitchers got and I knew if I got behind good pitchers they can strike you out. I just had to look for my pitch and lay off the ones I didn't want."
Burroughs had the look of a seasoned veteran as she belted a pair of home runs in the decisive game of the state championship series against Fred T. Foard. A pre-game speech from assistant coach LaVon Matthews provided Burroughs the inspiration and the peace of mind she needed.
"Mr. LaVon read us a Bible verse," Burroughs said. "I don't remember what verse it was, but I would read it over and over and it helped me relax. I prayed about it and the Lord looked after me."
Burroughs proved to be valuable in the pitcher's circle as well when an injury sidelined Aycock ace Brooke Bell. With Bell on the shelf, Burroughs helped maintain the Golden Falcons' undefeated run through Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference play. She finished with a 5-0 record inside the pitcher's circle with one save and a 1.83 ERA in 46 innings of work.
Burroughs also committed just two errors in 174 chances and ended the season with a .989 fielding percentage.
"When Brooke went out with an injury, Meredith came in and pitched well for us," Aycock head coach Brad Matthews said. "She was a tremendous asset to the team. She contributed offensively and defensively for us. She has a positive attitude and she works hard for us every day."
Burroughs was named the Most Valuable Player of the state championship series, and collected 12 hits and nine RBI in nine state playoff games. She gained some all-important confidence and created memories of a storybook season that are sure to last a lifetime.
"It was so great," Burroughs said. "It was definitely a team effort. It wasn't any one player singled out. We played for the whole team and we played for the right reasons."
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