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Slugging first baseman Alea Bier leads Roanoke College into the NCAA tournament.
Courtesy of Roanoke College
First-team All-ODAC selection Alea Bier is batting .378 with two homers, 21 RBIs, 18 stolen bases and a team-high 38 runs scored for the Maroons (30-12).
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Alea Bier’s time in a Roanoke College uniform is drawing to a close.
She hopes to don a different uniform soon.
The Cave Spring High School graduate is a senior first baseman for the Roanoke College softball team, which opens play in the NCAA Division III tournament today.
But she is also looking for a job as a police officer.
Bier graduated from Roanoke College last weekend after majoring in criminal justice. She has applied to the Goochland County sheriff’s department and to the Winston-Salem, N.C., police department.
“It kind of fits my personality — a very confident, outgoing, assertive individual,” Bier said.
Bier was a big “CSI” fan growing up, so her mother, Rebecca Bier, used to think her daughter might pursue a career in forensics. But that would not fit her daughter’s personality.
“That’s not for her,” Rebecca Bier said. “She wants to be active. She’s not the type of person who wants to be sitting at a desk or doing something in a lab.”
Bier grew up in a house atop Bent Mountain.
“People say they’re on the mountain and we make them fun of them and say, ‘No, you’re not on the mountain, we’re on the mountain,’ ” Bier said with a laugh. “It is isolated. It’s kind of a pain in the butt to drive every day up and down, up and down.
“But if I want to drive to my parents’ house, I can escape life for a couple days, escape the town, escape the city. That’s always been really nice.”
Bier was an All-Timesland outfielder as a Cave Spring sophomore, when she hit .511 and helped the Knights make the Group AA tournament. She moved to shortstop for her final two seasons at Cave Spring.
She started at second base her first two seasons with the Maroons, batting .313 as a freshman and .338 as a sophomore.
Last season, Bier moved over to first base to fill a void at that position.
“She had the best hands on the team,” Roanoke coach Mike Mitchell said. “I was wondering why in the world we didn’t do this the first year she was ours.”
Her position wasn’t the only part of her game that changed last season.
Bier was a slap hitter in high school. After taking a few steps as the pitch neared the plate, she would try to hit to the left side of the infield and sprint up the first-base line.
She abandoned that style last season in favor of staying in the batter’s box and swinging away.
“Defenders are faster [in college]. They are smarter about where to play you, so it’s harder to get on base as far as being an athlete like that,” she said. “And at the college level, you’re not as quick relative to everyone else.
“So I really started to work on my hitting. It takes some time to go back and develop a swing that I hadn’t been working on. It was something I kind of had to go back and rebuild it.”
The change paid off. She made the All-ODAC first team last season, when she hit .375 with 31 RBIs. After hitting just three doubles in her first two college seasons combined, she had 16 doubles with her swing-away approach last year.
She helped the Maroons win the ODAC tournament and an NCAA regional last year, when the squad advanced to the eight-team Division III national championships for the first time in 11 years.
This season, she is batting .378 with two homers, 21 RBIs, 18 stolen bases and a team-high 38 runs scored. Bier is tied for second in the ODAC in doubles (13). She again made the All-ODAC first team.
“She developed her strength and her conditioning to the point where she’s … driving the ball in the gaps in the outfield,” Mitchell said.
The Maroons did not repeat as ODAC tournament champs this year, but they did reap an at-large NCAA bid. They are seeded fifth in their eight-team, double-elimination regional, which will be held at the Moyer Sports Complex in Salem. Roanoke will meet fourth-seeded Christopher Newport at noon today.
The Maroons (30-12) have lost six of their past nine games, including a 1-2 showing in the ODAC tournament.
When the team was eliminated from the conference tournament two weekends ago, Bier figured her softball career was over.
On Monday, however, she and teammate Leona Rainey watched the NCAA selection show on the Internet and saw their school had reaped an at-large berth.
“We lost it there for a few minutes — a joyful experience,” Bier said.
“It’s a second chance for us and we have all intention of taking full advantage of it. Getting that bid, it’s almost like it put a second fire into us.”
Bier has been named the ODAC softball scholar-athlete of the year for the second straight season. She said she finished college with a 3.95 GPA.
She recently was named the female winner of Roanoke College’s Paul Rice Award, which is presented annually to two senior athletes for their contributions to campus life. She was involved in community service and campus organizations and had a part-time job in the information technology department.
“She’s tenacious about everything,” Rebecca Bier said. “She’s tenacious about softball, she’s tenacious about her grades, she’s tenacious about her goals.
“There were times she was stressed about the amount of work or something and I’d say, ‘It’s OK, you don’t have to make an ‘A’ in everything.’ She looked at me like I had lost my mind.”
Rebecca Bier figures that tenacity will help her daughter in law enforcement as well.
Bier will miss the softball team, but she is looking forward to a new career.
“I’m sad to leave the girls, but it’s time for me to move on,” she said. “It’s time for me to take a new step in my life.”
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