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Thursday, July 24, 2008
By Dave Roberts, Waynesville Daily Guide, July 14, 2008
Alaina Jacobson looked at Mizzou as her “dream” school.
She is finding, however, her dreams are coming true in Nashville, Tenn. instead.
Jacobson, a former all-state standout softball pitcher from Crocker High School, spent a long freshman season at the University of Missouri-Columbia before transferring to David Lipscomb University for this past school year.
And at Lipscomb, a small Christian university that is a NCAA Division I program, Jacobson has found both happiness and success.
“This season has definitely been a great season,” said Jacobson, who enjoyed an all-conference sophomore campaign for Lipscomb this past spring. “Coming out of Missouri, you’re kind of broken down when you leave your dream school. But Lipscomb was the place for me to be. I am so happy I went there.”
Jacobson committed to Mizzou during her senior season at Crocker. As a Crocker Lady Lion Jacobson was one of the most heavily recruited softball players in the area and finished as a two-time all-state pitcher.
It simply didn’t work out at Mizzou, however.
“The coach that recruited me left two weeks before I got there,” Jacobson said. “The new coach who came in had a little different philosophy. (The new M.U. softball coaching staff) has more of a power pitching (philosophy). I’m more of a movement pitcher. I had a difficult time there.”
In 22 appearances as a freshman with the Lady Tigers Jacobson finished with a 3-5 record, posting a 5.44 ERA in 56.2 innings pitched, allowing 59 runs and 87 hits while fanning 27.
She was not happy.
About the same time Kristin Peck was wondering about one of her ex-recruits.
Peck was a graduate assistant coach at Lipscomb who recruited Jacobson out of high school. She later became the Lipscomb Lady Bisons’ softball head coach.
“It was really a God thing,” Jacobson said. “One day (Peck) said she thought, ‘I wonder if Alaina is happy at Missouri?’ She couldn’t contact me, so she contacted my summer coach (Jacobson had played for the St. Louis Saints in the summer). I couldn’t talk to her at all until I got my release from Missouri.”
Once that happened, Peck quickly worked on bringing Jacobson south.
Lipscomb has been a NCAA Division I program for 10 years and competes in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
In her first season as a Lady Bison Jacobson was named to the all-conference second-team, as she posted a 11-6 record with three saves and established a new school record with five shutouts.
Lipscomb won the Atlantic Sun Conference title with a 16-6 league mark. The team was 29-26 overall – the Lady Bisons’ first winning season since becoming a Division I program in 1999.
Peck was named Atlantic Sun Conference Coach of the Year.
“The school itself is a lot smaller than Missouri – about 2,400 students,” said Jacobson, who is majoring in biology at Lipscomb. “And it was a good fit education-wise.
“The biggest adjustment was getting my confidence back; realizing you’re a good pitcher again. And coming out of high school the girls are not training as hard. In college you train year-round.”
Jacobson said the key was that her new coaches’ philosophy on pitching was consistent with the style she uses, which is changing speeds and moving the ball around.
“I was able to keep my basic pitching philosophy,” Jacobson said. “Our pitching coach is really good in picking out things I was doing wrong.”
Lipscomb will lose several seniors from its strong 2008 squad. And Jacobson will be asked to serve in more of a leadership role.
“We lost a few seniors but we have some jucos coming in and some freshmen who, according to the coaches, are also looking really good,” Jacobson said. “I hope to be a really good leader and help try to bring the team together.”
Jacobson’s initial dream may not have worked out. But she has kept the dream alive with a second chance in Tennessee.
“I really love Nashville,” she said. “And I love my team. It’s great when you leave your dream school and still get everything that you asked for.”