COVID-19 ended softball for HBCU teams during the 2020 season, but we have reached out to several institutions regarding a Q & A with some players and coaches to give HBCU Softball fans an inside edition to some programs.
Today, we have Bre’Zhay Chambers and Chaston Huntly along side their Head Coach, Marty Kinard.
First up for a Q & A, we have Bre’Zhay Chambers.
Bre’Zhay, tell us about yourself:
My name is Bre’Zhay Chambers a rising junior pitcher from Rock Hill, SC. I major in Biology with a minor in Chemistry.
Your Freshman campaign ended in a walk off loss to Winston-Salem State at the 2019 CIAA Championships, tell us how that motivated you and your team going to 2020?
After taking that big loss against WSSU, it motivated my team and I to work even hard on the field and become more determined to reach our 2020 goal as a team.
You were off to a good start in 2020, with a couple of CIAA Pitcher of the Week honors. How will that motivate you as you go into the 2021 season?
Having had a great start to the season in 2020 it motivates me to have the same mind-set, focus and reach the goals in the 2021 season.
Your 2020 season ended a couple of days before the CIAA Round Up due to COVID-19 pandemic, tell us how that felt for your and your teammates?
We were disappointed, the team and I were very pumped up and excited for the CIAA Round Up and the rest of the season.
What have you been up to during the COVID-19 quarantine?
During quarantine, I have been working out and working at my local Food Lion.
Where is your favorite place to eat near campus?
My favorite place to eat near campus is A-Town wings and Tokyo Grill.
Thank You Bre’Zhay for your time, next up we have Chaston Huntly.
Chaston, tell us about yourself.
My name is Chaston Huntly, I am a rising senior majoring in Sports Management with a minor in Business. I am on pace to graduate early. I was born and raised in Lexington, SC with my parents Ken and Dez and my youngest sister Chandler. I have been playing softball since I was 4 years old with the guidance of my father and support from my mother and sister. I have played on some of the best lower states teams in North and South Carolina. I was an all-region player 4 years in a row at Gray Collegiate.
You had a really good Freshman season and were off to a good start in 2020, talk to us a little about the success you have had.
Coming in as a Freshman, I was not expected to hit clean up in the line up knowing that there were several upperclassmen that were still present. I proved that I was capable of handling the job and it led me to earn All CIAA honors, D2 CCA NCAA Atlantic All Region honors, and a batting average of .391 which was good enough to be named Offensive Player of the Year at Claflin.
Even though we were runner up in the 2019 Championship, the pressure was on me with 2 outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd down 4-2. I was able to deliver a base hit to right field to tie the game at 4. Although we did not win, that was a moment I will never forget.
Looks like you had another great moment early on during the 2020 season, with a walk off home run at home versus Anderson. What was that feeling like?
At that moment Anderson was ranked in Division II Softball and for us to sweep both games and to hit a walk off home run was exhilarating.
What are you and your teams goals for the 2021 season?
Both goals would be to play together, become a closer family, and to have a winning season, and win the CIAA Tournament. I also would like to leave with a ring!!!
What have you been up to during the COVID-19 quarantine?
During the first half of quarantine I attended summer school classes and still currently working. I have picked up more frequent running, working out, journaling, and most of all bonding with my family.
Favorite place to eat near campus?
My favorite place to eat near campus is Tokyo Grill.
Thank You Chaston for taking the time to answer some question for us, next up we have Head Coach, Marty Kinard.
Talk to us about what your mindset was to hear the news of the cancellation of the 2020 season due to COVID-19? It hurt! It was the hardest thing I have had to do in my coaching career was to tell our group that the season was cancelled. It’s a young group who had so many goals and we were starting to make strides on and off the field, we had just had a good team bonding and team dinner.
How has COVID-19 changed recruiting?
It is different, a lot more time consuming have to watch videos and multiple games as well as call/text recruits, but we aren’t complaining we are doing the best we can given the situation. Just can’t wait to get back to the ballpark to see some live action.
You had the opportunity to coach in both the CIAA and the SIAC, what have the differences been for your program?
Well you know there are a lot of similarities. The CIAA welcomed us with open arms and it was fun to come in and be the new kids on the block, we had a group who really embraced the opportunity. I still talk to a lot of the coaches in the SIAC, so I am thankful for the relationships that we made over there. I will tell you this though, it can be tough to play on the road in the CIAA.
You picked up ALL HBCU transfer Makayla August, how will she impact your program?
Yeah, Makayla will be a great addition to our program, she brings a lot of experience and knowledge for the game. I am thankful that she can reach her goals here at Claflin by being accepted into our Graduate Program. She is a great young lady, who will fit right in.
Tell us about some players you are excited about moving into the 2021 season?
To be honest with you, all of them! There is no single person to pinpoint! We were really young in 2020 and some of those Freshmen were really starting to come along and adjust to the college game. That Freshmen now Sophomore class is going to be good for a long time. The now Juniors and Seniors were apart of that run to the CIAA Championship, so they are motivated. They are all a hard working group, you don’t have to ask them to put in the extra work, they want to succeed and be better and for that I am thankful to have them in our program.
What are you looking for your team in 2021?
Well first and foremost, for them to be back on campus and on the field in good health. I also want to see them continue to grow and reach their goals on and off the field. I know it’s easy to say a CIAA Championship and trust me that’s one goal, but we have to continue to work hard and put ourselves in position to do so. Those things aren’t just handed to you, you have to work hard for them and get through some obstacles along the way. I’ll say this again, this is a special group of young ladies who are great in our program on and off the field, so I’m excited for the future for them!