Following her dream

Published 12:23 am Friday, June 26, 2009

Andalusia’s Jessica Centner will be living out one of her dreams in life at the start of next year’s softball season.

Centner will be playing for the Lurleen B. Wallace Community College Lady Saints for the next two years on a scholarship, staying home and close to her mom, Michelle.

Centner helped lead her team to the Class 4A South Regional tournament at Gulf Shores in May, finishing runner-up.

She considered walking on to the softball team at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, but said, “I just kind of decided that I wasn’t ready to leave Andalusia yet. I’d miss it too much.”

Centner said she started playing softball at a very young age, before a girls T-ball league was formed.

“We didn’t have a girls T-ball team, so I had to play with the boys,” she said. “Then from then on I have been playing ever since.”

Centner started in high school when she was a freshman under former coach Wayne Sasser for three years and then finished school under coach Anthony Mikel, who stepped down at the end of the school year.

“Whenever I was in middle school, they wouldn’t let us play ball,” Centner said. “So, I loved it and I miss it already. I’ve missed it since my last game was over (at the Class 4A South Regional tournament).”

Centner said the one thing she loved while playing at AHS was going to practice.

“I loved practicing,” she said. “I loved going out there and practicing everyday. I’d go to school and I couldn’t wait for softball. It was pretty much one of the reasons I stayed in school was because of softball.

“Softball means a ton to me.”

Another thing she loved about the game was the fact that it gave her a way to escape from everyday life.

“I was just ready to play it and it was something I could always go to,” she said. “Through the game, I could always take my mind off of stuff. I just enjoyed it. I always loved to work to be better.”

Centner has a brother, Tyler, who is a junior at the University of Alabama.

“Tyler played a really big part in my game,” Centner said. “He’d throw in the cages with me and he was also my personal coach.”

The most important thing Centner said she learned while at AHS was the fact that there is no “I” in team.

“I learned that one person can’t do everything,” Centner said. “It takes a team to do something.”