Amanda Long, the hitting leader and speed demon for the Rend Lake College Lady Warriors softball team, is taking her athletic career to the next level by signing to play with the University of Tennessee at Martin next fall.
The Highland resident and Triad High School product led the team in hitting and stolen bases. She garnered a .385 average last year and stole 13 bases. She also was within four hits of setting a single-season hit record for RLC.
Being outstanding is just par for the course for Long.
At Triad, she joined the varsity team her sophomore year. She was a three-time all-conference selection and she helped lead her team to two Mississippi Valley Conference championships.
She also holds the Triad record for the most stolen bases in a single season (37), and is tied for the Illinois High School Association’s individual record for most stolen bases in a single game with nine.
Long kept up her winning ways when she joined the Lady Warriors, being named Second Team All-Region, although she said she hopes to make First Team All-Region and First Team All-Conference this year.
“I think I’ve done pretty well,” Long said.
She said her strength is “definitely my speed. It gets everybody’s attention.”
RLC Head Softball Coach Dave Ellingsworth said her speed really pressures the opposing team’s defense.
“Her speed has been a major contributing factor to our team,” Ellingsworth said. “If you can get her on base, you can get a stolen base to get a runner in scoring position.” Long served as lead-off hitter throughout her RLC career. The left-handed batter also has the ability to effectively hit from the right side.
Long played second base for the Lady Warriors, but Tennessee-Martin Head Coach Donley Canary plans to move her to the outfield.
“I think she’s got Division I speed. I think Coach Canary will have her hitting on all cylinders in the outfield,” Ellingsworth said.
Long said she is pleased to be heading to Tennessee-Martin. “They are pretty good. They have been Ohio Valley Conference champs.”
“Tennessee-Martin in an excellent university,” Ellingsworth said. He added that Long is not only a great athlete, but a good student as well.
“She is just a good person to have on a team. She leads by example and she’s a good teammate. There is no doubt she’ll be successful in the Ohio Valley Conference,” he said.
Apparently, Canary thought the same thing. He began recruiting her the fall of her freshman year at Rend Lake College. With two of his fastest runners graduating after this year’s season, Canary had to find a speedster if his 2007 team wants a chance to compete in the Ohio Valley Conference.
“She will hit leadoff and bring some speed to our lineup,” Canary said.
The athletic training major said she eventually would like to work with high school students and coach softball.
“I can’t get away from it,” she said.
For a high-resolution version of the above photo, click here.