Caroline Lively is one of the best players from the Sharpsburg, GA area in the Class of 2020.
The 5-foot-6, 135-pound Lively, who attends East Coweta High School, is a dynamic player that works as a catcher.
Lively, who is committed to Jacksonville State, has earned plenty of recognition during her outstanding career, such as: 2018 All County First Team, 2017 All County Second Team and 2016 All County Honorable Mention.
Lively is humbled by the accolades.
“Recognition is great, but it is not what the game is about to me. To me the success and growth as a team is the ultimate goal and reward,” Lively said. “The privilege to play in the Elite 8 State games the last three years is an experience I will never forget. Your mindset has to be that each game there, is a game like any other. However, it is so much larger than just another game, it is where mental toughness has to come in to keep calm.”
No matter the opponent, on each play Lively is determined to give it her all.
Lively is going all out.
The motor is always at full throttle whenever Lively steps between the lines.
“My mindset is to be dependable. I have written those words on my catcher’s mitt as a reminder of who I want to be to my teammates and to my coaches...I want to be dependable,” Lively said. “I want my teammates to know that I will do whatever I can to help them be successful. I want my coaches to know that I would run through a brick wall to do what I can for the success of the team.”
Lively has great passion and energy whenever she’s on the diamond. Lively tells why she enjoys the game of softball so much.
“I love being able to step out on the field and forget about the stresses of life. This game brings me joy that nothing outside that fence can take away. I work to play the game fully to where I have nothing left once the game is over,” Lively said. “I want to leave every ounce of my physical and mental ability out on that field and leave with no regrets or doubt that I gave my all for my team.”
Lively has learned many valuable lessons from playing softball that she applies to her everyday life.
The main one is applying perspective to all situations.
“Throughout the years of playing this game, I have been taught that life’s not fair and it was never meant to be. Success in life is not always worked for, but it is a whole lot sweeter when it is,” Lively said. “Be humble and always willing to do the dirty work that no one else wants to do.”
Lively recalls her favorite softball memory.
“My favorite memory of playing is the moment when we won the first state championship back in 2017. The final play was a grounder to our third baseman, Ashlynn Gunter, followed by a throw to her sister Ansley Gunter at first base, who automatically broke down into tears,” Lively said. “It was an amazing moment to experience with these two sisters. It really showed the dedication and love that we all share for the game of softball.”
Franklin DeLoach has coached Lively for three years at East Coweta High School.
DeLoach explains the best parts of Lively’s game.
“Catcher: She is like the quarterback on the field for us defensively. She is truly a warrior behind the plate. Caroline Lively is the best defensive catcher that I have coached in my 23 year coaching career,” DeLoach said. “Catcher: She is an outstanding receiver behind the plate and gives our pitchers complete confidence to throw their out pitch if it is a drop ball in the dirt or a rise ball high.”
Lively takes her role as one of the leaders on the team very seriously. Lively makes sure she’s a daily positive influence on her peers.
“Being a good teammate to me is celebrating the success of others, whether you’re on the bench or on the field. A great teammate looks to congratulate other players that are having success and encourage and uplift their teammates that are struggling. To be able to do this without regard to your own situation makes for a great teammate,” Lively said. “Let the last play go and prepare yourself for the next pitch. Whether it was an amazing play or a critical error, own it, let it go and move on. There is more game to play.”
DeLoach adds that Lively is one of those consummate teammates that every squad needs to be successful.
“Caroline is the definition of a leader on the field. She goes about her business each day the way every coach in America wants their student-athletes to be,” DeLoach said. “She makes others around her better.”
Lively is appreciative of having amazing role models that are supportive.
“I have learned that in order to be better on and off the field you have to step back and look at yourself and who you are as a teammate and as a person. You have to decide whether you want to be a leader or sit back and follow. I want to make a difference and create a path that others would be proud to follow,” Lively said. “The best advice my coaches have given me is to play the game the way it is meant to be played. Have fun, be coachable, and be a great teammate. Always respect the integrity of the game, the officials, and your opponent.”
DeLoach is an advocate of Lively’s capabilities.
“This past October in the state championship game she hit a game-ending home run to solidify our back to back state championship in our state’s highest classification,” DeLoach said.
Lively has an excellent softball IQ which puts her in position to succeed.
“She understand all aspects of the game in different situations that comes up,” DeLoach said. “She understands the flow of the games with handling pitchers and she is the same when hitting understanding what she needs to do at the plate if its moving a runner over, getting a bunt down or finding a way to drive that runner home from third with less than two outs.”
Lively is on the grind to perfect and hone her craft in any way possible.
“Her work ethic is as good as I have ever seen. She truly understands what it means to play the game the way it is supposed to be played,” DeLoach said. “No one works harder than she does on a daily basis.”
Lively is constantly striving for greatness in everything that she does.
“On and off the field, I want to be the clear voice of reason if someone is struggling with a decision,” Lively said. “I want to be the one that can be counted on when someone needs me and to be the type of person that makes someone’s day better.”
DeLoach explains why he compares Lively to this player.
“She’s similar to Florida State catcher Anna Shelnutt because she’s a very solid defensive catcher that can hit in big clutch situations,” DeLoach said.
Lively patterns her play after this athlete.
“I look up to Mississippi State player, Mia Davidson, because of her work ethic and overall ability that she has as a catcher,” Lively said. “I also feel that in a way I can connect myself to her in the case that I had to prove myself when I came to EC and prove that I was physically and mentally capable to fill the catching role just as she did coming up as a freshman in college.”
Lively explains why she committed to Jacksonville State.
“I was raised an Oklahoma University softball fan. However, once I began learning about more and more colleges, I realized that what defines a dream college for me was not about which division, which conference, or choosing the largest school. My dream college is Jacksonville State University, located in the small town of Jacksonville, Alabama,” Lively said. “What the program and coaches there stand for, makes me long to be a part of it. There was a sense of peace of being at home when I first stepped on the campus. Faith, family, academics and softball, in that order, is the approach their highly successful program takes to life. They have high expectations and solid accountability on and off the field. I look forward to the day I get to step on their field in full uniform and live out my dream.”
Lively lists history as her favorite subject in school.
“I admire this subject because it allows me to create an understanding and connection to events of the past that people today usually take for granted,” Lively said. “As the saying goes: ‘Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.’”
DeLoach is confident Lively is willing to do whatever it takes to keep growing as a player.
“I guess the only thing I could recommend to her is to continue to make her throwing arm stronger and to continue to improve her bat speed hitting,” DeLoach said.
DeLoach believes the sky is the limit as long as Lively continues to stay hungry.
“D1 Jacksonville State University commit,” DeLoach said. “She will do very well in college and I believe her teammates and coaches will love her there.”
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