Now-former Augusta softball coach Ray Aguirre said Christina Downs was one of the most talented athletes he’s ever coached, and she had the potential to be one of the best—if not the very best—softball players to come through the program.
And this was when she was a freshman.
Downs did more than live up to that potential. She excelled at every sport she played and capped her career with an outstanding softball year for the Orioles this past spring. And she was secretly one of the most competitive athletes around.
For her efforts, Downs earns the 2012 Gazette Athlete of the Year award.
Downs leaves the softball program with the highest career batting average in team history. And it’s not all that close. She finished with a .418 average. The previous career-best average was .396. She also was top five all-time in RBIs.
At the plate, Downs was as patient and disciplined a hitter as a coach could ask for. It was hard to strike her out. She often had at-bats with around a dozen pitches if she had to foul them off to stay alive. She managed to draw a lot of walks, even when she had two strikes on her. She was clutch with runners in scoring position. She was deceptively quick on the base lines.
In the field, Downs was a silky smooth shortstop. She made the difficult plays look routine; it helps that she has a rocket arm. She made this one awkward diving catch at a home game that was eye-popping as she landed hard after sort of twisting herself to make the catch.
She finished the 2012 season hitting .395 with 17 RBIs and only made a couple of fielding errors all year.
You know she’s special when Aguirre said Downs probably could’ve started for Friends University this season while still a senior in high school.
Oh yeah, and Downs was great in other sports, too. She really improved her volleyball game last fall. And for the basketball team, her skill set allowed her to do everything. She rebounded, she passed with great anticipation, handled the ball, had a good jump shot. She did it all.
It’d be remiss to not mention her partner in crime, Taylor Williams, named girls athlete of the year by the high school. Williams, who finished top five all-time in home runs, and Downs were practically glued together at the hip as they both played together all four years in all three sports. They’ve definitely formed one of the best-ever duos.
Down earned First Team All-AVCTL softball honors for the second straight season. She was Second Team All-League in basketball (she and Williams had the sixth- and seventh-most votes, so they were close to First Team).
Downs no doubt will add to her brilliant career at Friends University.