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Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Updated: June 25, 9:12 AM ET
Dawsey picks Berry, chance to build program

By Garland Cooper

When most girls play at a showcase like the Scenic City 16s (Chattanooga, Tenn.) they play to be noticed by college coaches.

However, one girl on the field that weekend was not looking for exposure; she already knew where she wanted to study next year.

Critter Dawsey always knew she would attend Berry College (Mount Berry, Ga.), a small Division III school with 1,850 students. It is a private institution located on 26,000 acres of land, making it one of the world's largest campuses.

The one problem: the school did not have a softball team. Until now.

Berry announced the addition of a softball team starting in the 2010 season.

"The new coach [Cori Thiermann] is so nice and personable," said Dawsey. "My sister [Buddy] and I both will go there and be able to play when we graduate. We are so excited!"

The chance to help build a program from the beginning is something few athletes get to experience.

"To see Berry develop and grow will be really neat," said Dawsey.

Dawsey andher sister have been inseparable since youth, and even now Buddy is waiting a year for her kid sister to graduate from high school, so they can enter college together as a package deal.

"We are very close," Critter said. "We have played a lot together and we just decided that we wanted to do this together. It is amazing how much we complement each other. We feel out of place when we are not together."

Both girls gained tremendous experience playing with and against some of the best athletes nationwide as teammates on the prestigious Atlanta Vipers organization.

"Whenever I get on the campus I just get this feeling," she said, "it has become a part of who I am. It is based on Christian values, the people are so unique and different, and the campus is beautiful with trees and deer everywhere."

Berry not only gives Critter an opportunity to be a part of a new program, but it gives her the chance to study internal medicine, so she can one day be a doctor.

"I like working with people," said Critter laughing, "and I'm not scared of blood or anything so that won't be a problem."

Clearly, she has big goals on and off the field.

"Being able to be a part of this young program is going to open a lot of doors for Berry softball," she said.

"Right now we are D-III, but if we go in there and play to the best of our ability, we can get to that top level and get the program on its feet. One day we could win a Women's College World Series Championship."

Garland Cooper covers high school softball for