The top of the Dothan Wolves softball lineup last year – and at Northview before that – featured an exciting duo.
One of those exciting players, Collier Peaden, signed a scholarship Wednesday with traditional junior college power Gulf Coast Community College of Panama City, Fla.
“I am very happy and I am so excited to play at Gulf Coast,” Peaden said. “I cannot wait to get there.”
Peaden, a senior outfielder, has been the leadoff or No. 2 hitter in a lineup the last few years, first at Northview then at Dothan after the two city schools were consolidated. Fellow senior Jabby Terrell, who is expected to sign with Gulf Coast in a couple of weeks, alternated with Peaden at the top.
“Collier is an exciting player, a very heady player who knows the game,” Dothan head coach Donny Bright said. “She brings a lot of excitement to our offense. She puts a lot of pressure on a defense being a slapper and very quick. She is a hard-working and dependable player.”
As a sophomore, Peaden earned Dothan Eagle Super 12 honors plus second team all-state accolades from the Alabama Sports Writers Association after earning a team-high .506 batting average at Northview with 91 hits in 180 at-bats, while scoring the second most runs in the Wiregrass with 76. She also had a .544 on-base percentage with 26 runs batted in and was an impressive 45-of-46 on stolen bases.
Peaden, as a member of the Dothan Wolves this spring, was starting to rev up when the season was shortened to 19 games because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She had a .367 batting average (23-of-58) with 11 runs batted in and 19 runs scored. She was a perfect 11-of-11 in successful steal attempts.
Peaden said she already knew several of the Gulf Coast players. She will be joined down there next year by her teammate Terrell.
“We have wanted to go play for a while together,” Peaden said. “We have been playing together since we were 8. Our biggest dream was going to Tennessee together, but then we visited Gulf Coast and we knew that is where we wanted to go.”
Bright said Peaden, while a freshman at Northview, got thrown into the fire late in the season and immediately fit into the lineup.
“KJ (Braswell) got hurt and Collier got inserted into a regional tournament game and had a great day,” Bright said. “She hasn’t looked back since.”
The Gulf Coast signee is strong both offensively and defensively, said Bright.
“Her biggest value comes on the offensive side because she is such a talented slap hitter,” Bright said. “She knows all facets of the slapping game – she is good at soft slap, good at hard slap and she can lay down the bunt down.
“So if you had to say where her best feature is it would be on the offensive side, but then defensively, she can play all three spots in the outfield for you and has a strong arm. You can stick her in right field with a good strong arm and you could put her in center and she can cover all the ground you need covered.”
Before moving to the outfield, Peaden’s athleticism allowed her to play on the infield at third base and shortstop in her early playing days.
Originally a right-handed hitter, Peaden was shifted to a left-handed slap hitter when she became a sophomore. She is glad she made the change.
“From the 9th-10th grade, my batting average has gone up,” Peaden said. “I have succeeded more slapping than hitting right handed.”
Speed is another major asset of her game.
“Not only is she fast, but Collier is also quick,” Bright said. “Usually by her second step, she is wide open. Some people, it takes a little while to build up that momentum, but Collier by her second step is wide open.”