Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Caitlen Manning Steps Into Justin's World

Four years ago, a young lady named Caitlen Manning arrived as a young freshman on the James Madison University campus. By the time her senior year rolled around, Manning was team captain & the team’s primary second baseman.

Statistically, Caitlen’s best season came in 2011, when she posted a .306/6/30 line, also adding 12 doubles. She comes from an athletic family, as her father was drafted by the Brewers in ’76, and her sister also played collegiate softball at Greensboro College in North Carolina.

From the time she got back to me regarding my request for an interview, Caitlen was just the sweetest person you’ve ever met. She was very nice to overlook an error in one of my questions, and gave some dynamite answers to my questions about the proudest moment of her career; begin voted team captain; what pitcher she’d like to face; and what she’d ask for if she was given three wishes.

Make sure you check her out on Facebook and Twitter! Enjoy. :)
Caitlen Manning in the field. Photo
credit: Liz Slate/Facebook

Q: How special was it for you to be voted team captain by your teammates in your senior season?
A: I thought it was pretty special getting voted captain my senior year because I had been working on expressing my leadership qualities my entire college career.  It was encouraging to know the underclassmen respected me enough to vote for me!

Q: Your JMU bio lists your position as “Second base/Utility”. How many different positions can you play, and have you played during your career?
A: Growing up I played all over the infield, but as I settled in I mainly played short stop because it was what my team needed the most.  As I was recruited I made sure to tell the coaches that I will play anywhere they need me because that is what I was used to doing for my team.  I started my freshman year practicing at both corner positions... mainly third base.  My sophomore year I started at third and about twenty games in I was moved to second base.  The fall of my junior year I began to practice in the outfield too.  I started the first game of the season in right field, but ended up finding my home at second base for the rest of my career.

Q: What would you call the proudest moment of your career?
A: The proudest moment of my career was my first college home run.  It was my sophomore year and we were playing a tournament at UNC.  Danielle Spaulding was the pitcher and at the time she was an All-American that hadn't given up a run that season.  I'm pretty sure I had struck out before this at bat, but I managed to make contact with an outside rise ball and it went out to right center.  I just remember my dad going back behind the stadium to get the ball and my mom was on the phone crying probably calling my sister.  My dad said a kid beat him to the ball so he had to give him money for it.  I know they were proud of me and it meant a lot to my family because UNC has always been their favorite college. My grandpa was obsessed with UNC and he passed away while I was in high school so doing that for all of them was a pretty cool moment.

Q: How did you get your start playing softball?
A: I started playing softball before I can even remember! My sister is five years older and she played so naturally I did everything that she did.  My dad was a professional baseball player so he is the one who has coached me all of my life.  Once I started playing I never stopped!

Q: If you could step into the box against any pitcher, active or retired, who would it be and why?
A: Jennie Finch; I've had the opportunity to hit off of incredible pitchers, but hitting off of someone who is so recognizable in our sport would be an awesome story.

Q: I read that you enjoy movies. If a movie were to be made about your life, who would you cast to play yourself?
A: Rachel McAdams, I love her movies.

Q: During your career @ JMU, besides Veterans Memorial Park, what was your favorite stadium to play in?
A: This is a tough question because JMU has blessed me with many opportunities to play in the best stadiums around the country.  My favorite will have to be our senior spring break trip to Stanford!  Playing in that stadium was amazing and the west coast atmosphere made it memorable.

Q: Who is your hero or role model, and how has that person’s influence affected your play on the field?
A: My hero is my mom.  She has been diagnosed with breast cancer twice and is a two year survivor.  Cancer has never stopped her daily routine and she is so respected by everyone around her.  She is the strongest woman I know and I tried to take that same strength with me every time I stepped on the field.

Q: Let’s say you were Aladdin and the genie agreed to grant you three wishes. What would you ask for?
1. A successful career in fitness while having a happy and healthy family
2. A cure for cancer
3. & the ability to grant everyone else wishes

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