E.A. Sports Today

Going places

Former JSU catcher heading to Germany to play pro softball after helping Piedmont in the postseason

Piedmont assistant coach and former Jax State catcher Savannah Sands is heading to Germany to play pro softball this summer. (Photos by David Brandsma)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT – Later this week Savannah Sands will be doing all she can to help get the Piedmont softball team through the Class 3A regional and onto the state tournament. Later this summer she’ll be helping out another team on a new international adventure.

Sands, a Piedmont assistant coach and former Jacksonville State catcher, will be heading overseas this summer to play professional softball for the German Budesliga Mannheim Tornadoes.

She had a chance to play with the Tornadoes before, but the timing just wasn’t right. With her obligations to the Lady Bulldogs and JSU clear for the summer, she’ll be free to take her playing career to the next level.

“The coach actually reached out to me before, but I had accepted a (graduate assistant) position (at JSU) to get my Masters and at the time I wasn’t able to do it,” Sands said. “He reached out to me again about a month ago. I just finished up with my grad position, so I don’t have a set job or anything, so I thought it’d be a good opportunity and I thought I’d play ball again.”

Sands was a catcher and infielder at JSU; she’ll catch for her German team when she arrives. European teams regularly supplement their squads with American players, typically pitchers and catchers, as they try to become more competitive on the world stage. Not only will she play, she’ll also lend her expertise to the Tornadoes’ other catchers as a quasi-coach.

Ultimately she’d like to be a college coach. Piedmont coach Rachel Smith helped her along career path this year bringing Sands aboard when she was looking for assistant before this season.

There was a time she thought she might have to turn down this chance to play in Germany, too. Not knowing when the team wanted her to report, she feared it would come while the Lady Bulldogs were still playing and she “couldn’t leave my girls.”

Now she is scheduled to report to the team July 4 and return to The States Oct. 9. She has never been out of the United States before.

“When I first got this opportunity I was kind of upset I couldn’t take it, but I’m a woman of my word,” she said. “I had already accepted the GA position, but no matter how badly I wanted to play softball I wasn’t going to leave them hanging.

“I was definitely worried the opportunity wouldn’t come back. I’m still trying to pursue softball and still feel I have more to give to the game.”

For the rest of the spring she’ll be giving back to the Lady Bulldogs. Piedmont opens the 3A North Central Regional in Tuscaloosa against county rival Wellborn Thursday at 9 a.m. Pleasant Valley and Weaver also are in the regional field.

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