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Athlete of the Week: Angie Hughes

Powerful pitcher marches towards 1,000 strikouts

POSTED: August 30, 2011 11:07 p.m.



When asked to describe Angie Hughes, her senior right-handed pitcher, Union County coach Jessica Stewart uses one word.

“She dominates the game,” Stewart said. “When she (Hughes) is pitching they usually only get three or four balls put into play.”

Stewart said there are stretches during the season when her defensive players go games at a time without fielding a ball, a consequence she is willing to pay to have Hughes’ authoritative presence in the pitching circle.

Hughes struck out 29 opposing batters in two games, 2.07 strikeouts per inning, last week, and for her efforts has been chosen as The Times’ Athlete of the Week.

After the big weekend, Hughes now holds an 8-0 record with 94 strikeouts and one earned run in 47 innings pitched.

There was a time when the reigning Class AA Pitcher of the Year’s talent was not as respected as it is now.

Hughes did not make her local travel ball team the first three seasons she tried out at age 11. Not being selected could have turned her away from the game she grew to love when watching pitchers for Team USA and the College World Series. Instead, it fueled the fire for Hughes to work even harder.

After three seasons of recreation softball where Hughes says she learned to pitch and really began to understand hard work, she was selected to the travel ball team.

Fast forward a few years and Hughes is being offered by a number of schools scholarships to come play softball. She is a senior leader for the defending Region 8-AA No. 3 ranked Union County and trying to get back to the Class AA state championship.

“We are working hard to get back to Columbus,” Hughes said. “We lost a lot of good seniors from last year, but our class is stepping up.”

The Lady Panthers have performed well under pressure already this season, winning the Gold Division of the Lake Lanier Invitational.

Hughes said winning the tournament was a big step in preparing the Lady Panthers for the state tournament. Union County had never won the tournament, and the seniors put pressure on themselves to be the best.

“We stayed relaxed, which was important because we play better that way.”

The Georgia Dugout Class AA Player of the Year is a big believer in superstitions before a game. She said she always reads Bible verses the night before a game and always wears the same headband and hair bow for games. Hughes also said she will go as far as wearing the same outfit to school if the games are far enough apart.

Hughes is on track to be only the eighth softball player in Georgia history to record more than 1,000 strike outs during her career.

After throwing a no-hitter on Tuesday against Rabun County and adding 18 more strikeouts to her career total, Hughes now stands at 823. The Lady Panther is well on her way, throwing 377 last season alone.

Hard to believe an athlete as decorated, as skilled and dominating as Hughes once was told she was not good enough.



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