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Derrck Mahone/Douglas County Sentinel Alexander senior catcher Faith Shirley hit .558 with 47 RBI as she helped lead the Cougars to consecutive region championships.

Faith Shirley plan coming into her senior season at Alexander was quite simple - put the ball in play and then make something happen.

The catcher did just that at the plate this past season for the two-time Region 5-AAAAAA champion Cougars.

Shirley was one of the most prolific hitters in the county this season.

At the plate, she hit .558 with 47 RBI and and scored 33 runs for the Cougars. She also had seven home runs to finish second on the team.

But mostly, Shirley’s leadership was invaluable to the team.

“It was just a matter of putting the ball in play and trying to help the team produce wins,” Shirley said.

And wins the team did.

Alexander finished 21-10 and advanced to the first round of the Class AAAAAA playoff after winning the region tournament.

Shirley signed with Georgia Southern University during the early signing period. She had also considered LSU and Georgia, but decided on the Sun Belt Conference school.

“I really liked the atmosphere down there, and it felt like a family,” said Shirley, who has a 3.62 grade-point average and plans to major in biology.

As much as her field on the play was valuable, Cougars coach Zack Graham praised her leadership.

“As a freshman and sophomore she was sort of shy,” Graham said. “She has developed into a great leader for our program. She really knows the game and has helped develop our younger players.”

Graham is particularly pleased at how she has helped pitcher Brooke Strickland develop.

“It was amazing how much she has helped all our pitchers,” Graham said. “The pitchers are really confident in the calls she makes. She sees the entire field and helps put us in the right position.”

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