MOULTRIE – Chance Pitts did something different, never before done as Colquitt County High’s softball coach. Coming off the school’s most successful fast-pitch season ever, he created an individual award for one particular senior, the Captain’s Award.
It went to leadoff hitter and utility defensive player Abeny Thomas.
On Wednesday, Thomas and her Packer softball teammates and family gathered at the high school to celebrate her college future. The fourth member of Pitts’ 2020 senior class to earn a college softball scholarship, Thomas signed the paperwork to attend South Georgia State College in Douglas.
“This is another special day for Packer softball,” said Pitts, who also led ceremonies for Callie Faircloth (GMC), Kelsey Patel (ABAC) and Sarah Harrell (East Georgia). “Like many of my seniors, this girl’s been with me for four years. I got to see her grow up off the field and on the field and become the type of player every coach dreams of coaching. That’s one who is always positive and is going to pick her teammates up, always yelling in the dugout. Abeny Thomas was that sparkplug. Anybody would agree with me if you got to watch her play softball.”
Watching her play, you know this was one enthusiastic player.
“It was an incredible feeling (winning region and making the Elite 8 in Columbus),” said Thomas. “Seeing everyone’s smiling faces, the hard work and dedication we had to go through to get to that point.
“I try to encourage my teammates the best I could. I wanted to make sure everyone was out there having a good time, never being down on themselves … they deserved to have a spot on that team. Everybody was out there for a reason, no matter who was doing what.”
Thomas said she attended a tryout at South Georgia State and, “on the spot,” she received the scholarship offer.
“A few weeks later I went back and toured, and I knew it from there I wanted to play there,” she said. “It’s just meant to be.
“I can play pretty much any position they need me to. If you throw me there, I’ll be fine.”
In her early days as a Packer, Thomas was in the outfield and the infield.
“She played every position at the varsity level except first base and pitcher,” said Pitts. Yes, that includes catcher. The coach recalled injury issues created a void behind the plate in a game against Lowndes, and he went to Thomas with all the gear. He said she strapped it on and handled the chore adequately.
As a senior, when Colquitt County claimed the Region 1-7A championship for the first time and placed in the top eight of the state, Thomas settled in at second base. Pitts also made a determination last fall that Thomas was his best choice as a leadoff batter. She stayed their all season and was second in the team in runs scored.
“I just want to learn, adapt and focus on schoolwork too,” said Thomas about her college softball goals. “Furthering my education. I’m thinking I’m going to be studying psychology.”