By Tim Chambers
Johnson County High School found the perfect fit to fill its head softball coaching vacancy created after Dana Smith took the principal job at Shady Valley Elementary School.
Angela Blevins will wear the glass slipper in 2017 and brings some impressive credentials with her.
Blevins was a standout player in college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she recently was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.
She played in 181 games, the most in school history, and was an All-Conference player for three seasons. She was a Verizon Academic All-American.
She set many records as a player while at IUP.
Blevins scored 133 runs, recorded 219 hits in 623 plate appearances all school records. She was a Regional All American for three seasons and served as a head softball coach in Pennsylvania for one year.
“I definitely have some big shoes to fill,” said Blevins who has served as an assistant coach under Smith. “Dana and Lisa (Mullins) have done an excellent job of building the program, so we want to continue that success. That puts a little pressure on me, but they did such a good job of setting everything up. I think it will be a little easier for me because of that plus. Lisa will remain my assistant coach which is a win-win for all of us. That was a big deal for me, and I’m excited she stayed. We still want to keep Dana involved and I can see her being a part of it in the near future.”
The Lady Longhorns graduated six senior starters but Blevins is excited about what lies ahead. She is ready to embrace the challenge.
“We have a good foundation, but we haven’t finished where we wanted to the past couple of seasons. I want to see us get back up in the top of the ranks instead of being in the middle of the standings. To do that will take some good leaders. I think we definitely have a few who can fill that role.
Blevins expects All-Conference centerfielder Michala Cretsinger to help with that chore.
“Michala is a very talented all-around athlete,” added Blevins. “I think she could pick up a hockey stick and be successful despite never playing. That’s how talented she is. She has an excitement and love for the game plus she’s a competitor. You can’t teach someone that, it has to be there. It’s contagious. She has a chance to play at the next level if she works hard at it over the winter.”
Blevins also singled out some other players that she expects to step up next season.
“Our core returning players have been great leaders throughout their careers. We have those plus a couple more that are ready to step in and play. Bella Miller, Eden Fenner, Marley Eggers and Brittany Brooks played well for us this year. We are counting on them to step up their play. Courtney Brooks is going to do great at filling the role as our pitcher. She doesn’t have the velocity that Brianna Snyder had, but the movement on her ball is remarkable. It’s a different look but she is very capable. I excited to work with them all.”
Blevins is stoked about the freshman class coming in.
“I’m familiar with several of them,” said Blevins. “Hannah Brooks is one that can hit it a mile and pitch. Natalie Winters is a good catcher and Adrian Hall has a cannon arm. I also like Abby Cornett’s speed. I know there are others who can play too. We may need some of them to step in and fill some starting roles. We want to put our best players on the field.”
Blevins hails from Ford City, Pennsylvania which is about 45 minutes from Pittsburgh. She is married to Kevin Blevins of Mountain City. They have two children, Kaden and Avery.
She no longer feels like a stranger after living in Johnson County for 12 years.
“I love my job, the kids and the school that I work at. It’s a safe place and my kids love going to school here. I can’t think of any place that would be better to teach, coach and raise a family. Being named head softball coach just makes it that much more special.”