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For Beddingfield High senior catcher Savannah Barberio, softball will require a more demanding commitment at the next level.
That likelihood is not news to the 18-year-old Lady Bruin, but Barberio remains firm that academics will be her top priority.
“My goal is to have a 4.0 grade-point average — I’ve never done that,” Barberio said in the school media center Thursday afternoon after announcing her decision, before teammates, coaches, family, administrators and friends, to continue her softball career at North Carolina Wesleyan College of the NCAA Division III ranks.
The daughter of Mike and Carrie Barberio of Stantonsburg and Dana Barberio and Rich Scarberry was accepted at other schools but, in reference to continuing to play softball, only considered N.C. Wesleyan. Barberio has earned an academic scholarship.
The possessor of a 3.7 GPA, Barberio plans to major in special education and business administration. She has been Beddingfield’s starting catcher the last three seasons, but was recruited by the Bishops as an utility performer.
“They are getting better every year,” Barberio noted of the N.C. Wesleyan program of head coach John Brackett. “They feel like they can work me anywhere because I know how to play every position.”
Of the opportunity, Barberio responded: “I’m excited. I am ready to graduate and go on to bigger and better things.”
The Bishops recruit is a four-year varsity performer who will end her career as 2-A All-Eastern Plains Conference for the first time. Barberio was a mainstay for a Lady Bruins squad that compiled a 17-4 record, tied for second in the conference and advanced into the second round of the playoffs.
Barberio joined the other three seniors — Chloe Radford, Cassie Dail and Brianna Hale—_ as 2018 captains. During the seniors’ careers, Beddingfield posted a 170-15 record. Radford also signed Thursday, with UNC Pembroke.
Barberio was situated in the singles and doubles lineups for the Lady Bruins tennis team each of the last two seasons.
As a senior, the 5-foot-3 1/2 receiver batted .308 with two doubles, a triple, a home run and 13 runs batted in. Barberio slugged at a .385 percentage and compiled a .273 on-base percentage.
“She caught every single game except maybe one,” commented head coach Jeremy Howard. “Savannah is the true definition of a success story; she was the ideal team player. The last three years, I couldn’t get her off the field. She knows the game of softball.
“She just gets it as far as being on the field or off it. She understands life and knows you have to work. She’s going to work at it until she figures it out.”
Of her Beddingfield career, Barberio declared: “I wouldn’t want to go to school anywhere else. We did good as a group, had really good communication and became more like a family. There were times I could have done better but, overall, I think I really helped the team out. I tried to be the best captain I could be — keep everybody up and have a positive attitude.”
Wesleyan’s catch is a student and team player.
“Getting to know all the people (she’s familiar with just one current player) will probably be the biggest adjustment,” Barberio reasoned. “I’m going to try to be a student, stay positive and be a good team player. I have to make sure it feels right to be there to play.”