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'Give it their all' - Veteran Victoria Draper leads Auburn outfield
Center fielder Victoria Draper has started 109 of Auburn's 110 games the past two seasons.
April 14, 2017

By Jeff Shearer
AuburnTigers.com

AUBURN, Ala. - When Victoria Draper looks to her right and left, she sees the future of Auburn's outfield.

Draper, who has started all but one of Auburn's 110 games the past two seasons, provides the voice of experience to freshmen Alyssa Rivera and Carmyn Greenwood.

"I'm having to be a leader," said Draper, who advises her young teammates on how to handle wind and sun, where to throw and who should field balls hit between them.

"They're doing great," Draper said. "Alyssa has super speed. She is a power hitter, but she can also beat out hits. We call her `Slapper Lyss' as a joke. She gets mad, but it's funny. Carmyn has a super strong arm, too, and can cover a lot of ground. "

Rivera, batting .500 over the past 10 games while dazzling in right field with highlight-reel catches and throws, appreciates the advice.

"Having figures above you and knowing that they know what they're doing," Rivera said. "Just follow behind their footsteps and you'll be fine."

The reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, Rivera's .474 batting average in conference games leads Auburn.

"I try not to think too much," Rivera said. "I just go in there and do what I have to do to make the team win."

<em> Alyssa Rivera earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors against Ole Miss.</em>
Alyssa Rivera earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors against Ole Miss.

"She goes up there, sees the ball and hits it," Auburn coach Clint Myers said. "She's an untapped resource. She is so far from being her final player, because of the fact that she is young and she is learning. She's a free spirit who's trying really hard and we appreciate all of the success she's having because it's helping us win."

Greenwood celebrated her first SEC start April 8 against Ole Miss by going 3-for-4. The Oak Mountain (Birmingham, Ala.) High School graduate has started the past three games in left with fellow freshman Rivera in right.

"It's really exciting because we're friends, too," Greenwood said. "Seeing each other on the corners, it pumps us up wanting to do great on the field for the team."

"She's getting there," Myers said. "She's working hard. She's trying hard. We've got to make sure that these youngsters are not trying too hard, but are trying smarter."

When the freshmen need a role model, they need only to look to center to "Vic the vet."

"They're both not afraid to give it their all, which is nice," Draper said. "In softball, there are going to be times you mess up. Everyone messes up. It's a failing game, but they're not afraid to go hard and I appreciate that because I'm the type of person who goes hard for everything."

Draper, whose freshman and sophomore seasons culminated with SEC Tournament championships and World Series appearances, believes the 2017 Tigers can continue Auburn's winning postseason ways.

"We can get there easily," Draper said. "We're just as good. It's just a different kind of good. Different team. Has different aspects, because different people have different talents, but we definitely have the talent and the ability to win a national championship this year."

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter:


 

 

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