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TAE ace Cook staying close to home

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

Mike Phillips

mike.phillips@albanyherald.com

DAWSON -- Amanda Cook won just about everything she could win at Terrell Academy, where she led the Lady Eagles to the GISA Class A softball state title last fall.

Now she'll try to do the same at Darton, where Cook plans to pitch for the next two years.

Cook signed with the Lady Cavaliers on Wednesday at Terrell Academy amid a large group of family and friends, including her parents, Terry and Lori Cook.

It was her dad, Terry, who put her on the mound, back when Amanda was 12.

"I have been playing softball since I was 7,'' Cook said. "But I always played first base. My dad started a traveling team when I was 12, and that's when I started pitching. I was slow at first, but I could throw strikes and I kept working on speed drills to increase my speed.''

She became a legend at Terrell Academy, where opponents found out fast just how difficult it was to catch up to Cook's speed.

Cook went 17-5 this past season, tossed two no-hitters and struck out 126 batters. She was even tougher to hit in the state playoffs, where she went 5-0 with a 0.60 ERA and had 33 strikeouts in 35 innings.

Cook was named to The Herald's All-Area team as a senior, and was named to the GISA All-State and All-Region teams as a junior and a senior.

"She has been our No. 1 pitcher for three years, and she's been a leader for us,'' TAE coach Keith Jones said. "She had the team concept, and I've always said if you don't have that team commitment you're not going to win.''

Jones then added: "She has been a pleasure to coach, and I can't wait to see her play at Darton. She was a true leader as a senior, and the results speak for themselves.''

Wednesday, meanwhile, was a dream come true for Cook.

"When I was growing up I wanted to pitch,'' she said. "I would watch the college pitchers on TV, and I always wanted to be one of them. I'm excited (about playing for Darton). I'm ready for the experience. I know it will be difficult (to move up in competition), but I believe I can do it.''