Amy Dumas' love of George Strait's music led her to a recent concert. But on game days, she doesn't listen to the country music legend.
The Augusta State senior flame-throwing pitcher prefers the sounds of high-energy rock from bands like Godsmack or Metallica.
"That kind of gets me pumped up, gets me going," she said. "His music is too mellow."
Nothing is mellow about Dumas on the softball field. In three seasons, she's become the most-decorated pitcher in school history.
Dumas holds school records for wins (53), strikeouts (861) and saves (nine). By season's end she likely will have the school's best career ERA as well as most innings pitched.
A two-time all-conference pitcher, Dumas has led the Peach Belt in strikeouts the past two seasons. Augusta State plays five games in the West Georgia tournament, which begins Friday. By the tournament's end, Dumas likely will possess the conference career record for strikeouts -- she needs 15.
"Strikeouts are pretty important," she said. "But this year I want to focus on lowering my walks."
She's done that so far. In three appearances this past weekend, Dumas dominated, recording a win and two saves. In 11 innings, she tossed 17 strikeouts against one walk.
Augusta State is off to a 3-0 start and is seeking its fourth consecutive winning season. Dumas, the team's ace, has been vital to that success.
"When you get one of the best pitchers in the state of Georgia you can expect to be one of the best teams on your level in the state of Georgia," Jaguars coach Melissa Mullins said. "She's helped to lead our team to that."
Dumas began pitching at age 12 and soon developed a reputation as a hard-thrower. After graduating from Union Grove High School in McDonough, Ga., she came to Augusta State and immediately made her mark.
In 2007, she helped lead Augusta State to a school-record 39 wins and its first-ever Division II Tournament appearance. She won 19 games and struck out 320 batters.
Dumas attributes much of her success to a rising fastball she throws as fast as 66 mph -- that converts to a mid-90s pitch in baseball. She throws five total pitches and is working harder on her drop pitch as an out pitch.
"I've always had it; it just hasn't been very good," she said.
"I'm trying to make it better. I feel like if I would have had that last year I would've done a little better."
Dumas, who plans to graduate in December with a degree in health and physical education, wants to make another Division II Tournament appearance. She and senior Jacklyn Benenhaley, who went 15-5 last season, lead an experienced pitching staff of five players.
Another solid season by Dumas could land the Lady Jaguars back in the South Atlantic Regional.
"We want to win 40 out of 52 games," Dumas said. "That should put us in contention.
"Just being there helps. Now we know what to look forward to this year if we make it back."
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior pitcher holds school records for wins, saves and strikeouts: