Beirne has big plans in school and softball|All-state senior ready to join the Avenging Angels

Published 5:25 am Saturday, July 4, 2009

Staff Writer

Amanda Beirne knows what she wants. And she won't let her injured arm get in the way.
Beirne, a former slugger and starting pitcher for the Northside softball team, begins school at Meredith College in the fall on an academic scholarship. She will also bring her pitching and power hitting prowess to the Avenging Angels softball squad.
Meredith began its pursuit of Beirne in the summer of 2008. Head coach and former UNC pitching coach Robert Luckadoo noticed the hard-throwing Bierne while recruiting another player off her Wilson Diamonds travel team.
Luckadoo liked what he saw out of Beirne and offered her a scholarship. At the time, she was also being recruited by the likes of Chowan and Campbell.
"Meredith was the one that was most interested," Beirne said.
Beirne standout junior season at Northside, when she carried the Panthers to the fourth-round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class-1A playoffs, surely helped her cement a scholarship with Meredith. Her success also brought high expectations for the 2009 campaign.
Expectations that were crushed when Beirne came down with an injury to her throwing arm during the second game of the 2009 season against Jamesville.
"After the game I went home and was in a lot of pain," Beirne said.
Luckily for the star senior, her future coach lined her up with an orthopedic surgeon to get an opinion on the arm. Beirne has now had several doctors look at her arm, and most have said she has a torn ligament and strained tendon. She is awaiting results from an MRI taken at the end of June.
In the meantime, Beirne has been conditioning and practicing individual throwing drills. She expects to be ready for fall practice, which begins September 15.
"I plan on still going to practices and doing what I can, regardless of whether I can pitch or not," the strong-willed Beirne said. Meredith, a NCAA Division III program that plays out of the prestigious USA South Athletic Conference, also has an abbreviated fall season.
Before her injury, Beirne said coach Luckadoo expected her to pitch some during the short season. Now she will be looking for another role with the team, at least in the short run.
While her status with the team is up in the air, Bierne feels she has already found her place and purpose at Meredith. She will be double-majoring in math and science, and plans to return to Beaufort County as a teacher when she finishes school at Meredith. She also plans to go back to school to get her professorship and fulfill her dream of becoming a college softball coach.
"I know that'll take a while, but that's eventually what I want to do," she said.
If all goes according to plan, Bierne will be following in the footsteps of her mother, Louise, who coached her at Northside. The younger Beirne said she has already learned much about the art of coaching from her mother.
The elder Beirne believes her daughter's new coach will also serve as a masterful mentor.
"He's just been a mentor to her in more that one way," Louise said. "That was before she was even sure she was going there — he was that helpful."
Coach Beirne said that her and the Panthers will miss Amanda, but she is confident in her daughter's success because of Coach Luckadoo.
"He actually cares about the players. He cares about their education," Louise said. "It makes you feel good as a parent, and as a coach, that I'm sending my daughter to someone that cares about her."
The younger Beirne is already familiar with the Raleigh-area, as she lived in Clayton from elementary school to middle school.
"It's exciting going back to the area," she said.
At the same time, the younger Beirne is sad to be leaving Northside and her teammates, especially after missing most of her senior season.
"I'm going to miss the team a lot," she said. "I'll come to as many games as I can."
And Coach Beirne said the team shares the same sentiment.
"I know the girls on the team have commented on how strange it's going to be not having her in the dugout," the elder Beirne said.
Amanda's friend and former teammate Amanda Daw said the team will have a big hole to fill, especially considering the sacrifices she made for the team.
"She did pretty much what she could for the team, whether she was hurt or not," Daw said.