Shift to short not a problem for Hallettsville's Timishia North
May 26, 2010 at 5:26 a.m.
UIL Regional Final
Hallettsville vs. George West
7 p.m., Thursday, Bobcat Stadium, San Marcos
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HALLETTSVILLE - Timishia North wasn't entirely unfamiliar with playing shortstop. But after three years playing on the green grass of the outfield, the coaching staff at Hallettsville approached her and asked her to move into the dusty infield and take over a role the team needed her to fill.
No problem, North said.
"It was easy because I played on a team, Texas Trouble from Victoria, and (coaches Charlie McGarity and Vic Caldwell) had me there," she said. "I knew what I was doing, I was comfortable with it."
It still took a several games for North and the rest of the team to adjust to their new positions, said coach Mike Mikeska, but the results have been phenomenal.
"The transition with Timishia, just like a bunch of these girls, it took 10, 12 games for us to get that transition to where they started feeling comfortable with what we were trying to get done," he said. "They bought into it beautifully. Coach Hoelter and myself, we talked at great length about the different possibilities that we had, and we shuffled. And finally, we came up with this arrangement, and they bought into it, and it's working well. Most days, it's working really well."
The senior for the Lady Brahmas credited the coaches with helping develop confidence in her ability, although she said she was surprised by the move.
"It made me believe that I could play any position," she said. "The coach gave me confidence when he told me that he was going to move me to short, I was like, 'What are you serious?' I couldn't believe it. Then, when he moved me there, as I kept playing, I had confidence in myself that I could do it."
North's shift from the outfield to shortstop this season was one of many borne out of necessity. The Lady Brahmas lost several seniors from the team that made it to state the season before, and key positions needed to be filled. North's skills and those of the team will need to be in full swing Thursday night in San Marcos as the Lady Brahmas attempt to make it to the state championships for the second straight year.
North is a strong fielder on a team that is already skilled in that aspect of the game, but brings something else to the shortstop position. She adds an outfielder's cannon of an arm, often with good accuracy, although she said she is still working on perfecting that part of her defensive game.
"I still feel like an outfielder because I overthrow the ball sometimes," she said. "Coach always tells me to bring the ball down. He picks me up a lot whenever I overthrow it, my team picks me up also."
The senior shortstop was quick to point out the contributions the coaching staff and her teammates, past and present, have influenced her style on and off the field. The team is like family, she said, and it's been true since she got here.
"Last year's seniors, they made us feel like when we became seniors we should step up to the plate," she said. "That's what we did this year to help our younger ones, and I know next year, when they become seniors, they'll continue the family tradition.
"We never got at mad at each other or nothing. We are all sisters."
On top of the fielding skill and strong arm, North's blinding speed helps her get to balls many fielders would miss in the field, and it makes her a threat to run on the basepaths at any moment.
Often labeled one of the team's sparkplugs, North said some of her teammates have said that she and Lindsey Steffek are the central figures in the offense.
"She's a sparkplug, no doubt," Mikeska said. "If she gets on, good things usually happen."
But it's not about that, she said, but rather how the team does at the plate.
"I tell (the team) don't say that, we are all equal people, we can get on base any way we need to," she said.