Natalie Shiver, a junior catcher on Mercer’s Softball Team, was named the General Shale Southern Conference Student-Athlete of the Week on Wednesday, Feb. 18. In order to be selected for this award, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.3. Shiver was thrilled to be given an award based on both her athletics and academics.
“It was a huge honor to be recognized as the student-athlete of the week for the conference for what I did on the field but, more importantly, in the classroom,” said Shiver.
Shiver was also honored as a member of the Mercer Invitational All-Tournament Team, during which she had a .538 batting average with a total of six home runs, leading her team to the tournament championship title.
So far this season, the Mercer Softball Team boasts a 6-4 record, and Shiver says that the highlight has been winning the Mercer Invitational. The team went 4-1 on that first weekend of play.
“We lost to Jacksonville State on Saturday and ended up playing them again for the championship on Sunday, beating them 13-6,” said Shiver.
She has shown true talent and discipline ever since her freshman year as a Bear. In her debut season, Shiver played all 53 games, starting in all but two of them. She was one of just three players to record more walks than strikeouts. As a sophomore in the following season, Shiver started in all 56 games, finishing the season with five home runs and 36 RBIs. Shiver also had the second best fielding percentage on the team, recording a .983 average.
Shiver says that there were numerous reasons that contributed to her decision to attend Mercer.
“I got to be a part of [Coach DeFeo’s] first recruiting class at Mercer and knew he was looking to turn this program into a championship caliber team every year. I also knew I wanted to play somewhere close to home, and Mercer is the closest Division I softball program (to) Leesburg, Ga.,” said Shiver. “One of the biggest draws to Mercer was the strength of its academic programs, which played a major role in my decision to come here. Academics have always been extremely important to me, and Mercer seemed to have the perfect combination for me to succeed both academically and athletically.”
When asked who has had the biggest impact on her collegiate journey, Shiver definitively says her parents.
“They are so supportive in everything I do whether academically, athletically or otherwise,” said Shiver. “Since I’m so close to home, they are able to attend all of our home games, which means so much to me.”
A finance and sports business double major, Shiver says that she has yet to decide on her post-graduate plans.
“My dream job would be working in the front office for the Atlanta Braves. I have to get an internship this summer, and I’m not sure yet whether it’s going to be a sports business or finance internship,” she said. “Hopefully, whatever I do this summer will help me figure out what path I want to take after college. I’ve also considered getting an MBA or masters in finance after I graduate.”
As a first-year member of the Southern Conference, the Mercer softball program hopes to make a statement this season by winning both the regular season and the conference tournament.