Desoto County Sports

Ex-Lady Patriot Savage earns Gold Glove award at Northeast

Northeast freshman switched to third base from outfield for this season

Photo: Northeast Mississippi Community College freshman Madelyn Savage prepares to throw during pregame warmups ahead of the Tigers’ game against East Mississippi Community College during the Coach David Carnell Challenge on March 1. Savage was selected as the Rawlings Gold Glove Award® recipient for National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II members at third base by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). (Credit Michael H. Miller/Northeast Public Information)

Credit: Northeast CC Sports Information

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but gold looks just fine to Northeast Mississippi Community College’s Madelyn Savage.

Savage was the recipient of the prestigious Rawlings Gold Glove Award® presented by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).

The Olive Branch native was the only honoree at third base and one of just nine winners overall among National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II members.

Savage, who becomes the first player in softball program history to obtain a Gold Glove, was an outfielder by trait at the prep level. However, she switched spots to the infield during her first semester with the Tigers and instantly found a new home.

“My outlook on it was, ‘I’m on the field. It doesn’t matter what position. I’m going to try to help my team win and back up my pitchers,’” said Savage. “I had to learn different mechanics where I could master the game and make each play clean.”

She received plenty of chances to improve at the hot corner during Northeast’s expanded 18-game fall exhibition schedule. Savage did so well that she eventually started at third in 56 of the Tigers’ 60 regular season contests.

“She was very valuable to us defensively,” Northeast head coach Jody Long said. “She saw a lot of opportunity in the infield and I think it really paid off for her. She asked a lot of questions and kept working.”

The freshman out of Lewisburg High School committed only seven errors all year, which is the fewest by an everyday Tiger third baseman since Ellen Tarrant had just six miscues during the 2013 campaign.

Savage accounted for 71 assists, which was second most on the team. She was even better against conference opponents with only two errors in 26 matchups for an outstanding fielding percentage of .958.

She was just as good offensively over the last two weeks of the season. Savage had three multi-hit performances, four doubles, two homers, 10 RBIs and three runs scored in that span as Northeast entered the playoffs on an eight-game winning streak.

Savage was the hero during the Tigers’ NJCAA Region 23 Tournament contest at rival Itawamba Community College. She tied things up in the sixth with her first collegiate home run before delivering Northeast’s go-ahead runs one inning later with a two-out single.

She batted .284 for the entire year with a .373 on-base percentage, 13 extra base hits, 24 runs scored, 24 RBIs and nine stolen bases. Savage had a pair of three-hit games in victories by the Tigers over East Mississippi Community College and Hinds Community College.