Meguiar to play in the Cumberlands
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

     Former Logan County Lady Cougar softball star Erica Meguiar will play her college ball for a coach who already appreciates her talent.
     Veteran coach Angie Dean drove most of the width of Kentucky Sunday to get Meguiar's signature on scholarship papers from the University of the Cumberlands. The coach made it clear that she is highly pleased to get the talented catcher into the Patriots' midst.
     "I knew as soon as I saw her make a throw to second that I wanted her to become our catcher," Dean said during a gathering at the beautiful home of Meguiar's grandparents, Johnny and Lavelle Meguiar. "The ball may have beaten the runner by eight or nine feet. In fact, I was impressed that Logan's shortstop (Michelle Belt) got there in time to catch it. I don't think I've ever seen a high school catcher throw that hard, and she did it from her knees."
     Dean has seen a lot of softball. After coming out of Knoxville Karris High School, she was a four-year varsity starter at Cumberland College (now the University of the Cumberlands) where she was an all-conference and all-district middle infielder. After coaching a couple of years at Maryville High School in Tennessee, she returned to her alma mater as an assistant coach in volleyball and softball. After two seasons, she became head softball coach and is entering her 15th year as the bench boss. She has served as conference softball chairman for five years and served as an NAIA Region11 rater for five years.
     Coach Dean knows what it takes to play Division I NAIA softball, and she says Meguiar has it. She fully expects the recent LCHS graduate to be the starting catcher as a freshman.
     Last year's catcher, Brittnay Turner, was a power-hitting senior. "She could hit the ball hard, but Erica is a good hitter and her quickness behind the plate is exceptional," Dean said.
     Meguiar was a four-year starter for the Lady Cougars and was first team Academic All-State. She hit .750 in the postseason and led the team to its first-ever 13th District championship. The Lady Cougars play few games each year and aren't off seen by regional and state coaches, so it took some effort to get the word out about her ability.
     "Erica Meguiar, a senior at LCHS, is the leader, and the heart and soul of that team," Robbie Carnall said when Logan County's season ended. "I know of none that have been more dedicated to the sport she loves, and the team she plays for. LCHS should not only be proud to have such an outstanding young person and athlete at their school, but they should also be grateful. For she is truly a walking example for all to follow."
     Carnall is the father of one of the Lady Cougars' competitors, veteran Russellville High pitcher Tori Carnall. "It's been a privilege and pleasure to watch Erica play in high school and summer ball. I believe the best is yet to come for her in college," Carnall said.
     Meguiar has played travel ball since she was a seventh grader. She said her best softball moments so far have come in summer ball.
     Several schools were interested in having Meguiar play for them. She visited Asbury and Murray State, but was close to signing with Columbus State College in Georgia. Auburn native Brad Huskisson is head coach of that NCAA Division II college.
     When Erica decided that the seven-hour drive to Columbus would prevent her family from seeing her play often, she decided to go closer to home. Her dad, Eric Meguiar, had sent out several videos of her in action, which had been orchestrated by her hitting instructor, Todd Stinson of the Doyle Baseball Academy. Stinson attended the signing celebration. He and Coach Dean contacted each other on the same day. The Cumberlands made her a very attractive financial offer to help make her decide to become a Lady Patriot. Her 3.8 grade point average helped the school sweeten the pot.
     "This wouldn't be happening if it weren't for her daddy," Lavelle Meguiar said. "When it became apparent that the high school wouldn't be helping, he got the word out about her, and it paid off with a good college and a good place to play softball. She's been blessed; she could have fallen through the cracks and not gotten this opportunity."
     "This is a great situation for her," Eric Meguiar said. "We're happy with the university, happy with the surroundings and happy with her chance to play early in college."
     In addition to Eric and T.J. Meguiar, Erica is the daughter of Ursala and Stanley Knight. She is the granddaughter of Clara Dobbs. All of them were present for the signing. as were sister Jessica, brother Drew Hayes.and great-grandmother Jessie Meguiar.

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