Bell’s softball skills on display early at SMC

First Byline: 
Michael Young - Sports Editor

Transitioning from high school athletics to the college level can be challenging for any player.
That has not been the case, however, for Spartanburg Methodist College freshman shortstop Ciera Bell.
Bell, who was a standout for the Barnwell High softball team, has been playing like a seasoned veteran for the Lady Pioneers.
Through fall league play, Bell has risen to the challenge and has developed one of the Lady Pioneers most productive players.
Bell talked about her progress on the diamond during the Oct. 11-13 Gamecocks Invitational in Columbia
"I'm playing okay, but there's room for improvement," Bell said. "This weekend is a big challenge for me and my teammates. We get an opportunity to play the top competition in the Southeast with teams like South Carolina and North Carolina."
Spartanburg Methodist College coach Thad Fox said he's a little surprised how easy Bell has been able to get into a flow with her new team.
"It usually takes freshmen a while to get up to speed with the game. Bell is way ahead of what we expected," Fox said.
"Bell basically has all the fundamentals down. She has a smooth throwing motion and good feet. Bell is also a very tough player who responds well to adversity. Right now, we're expecting her to contribute a lot this season."
Bell has gained the respect of her teammates because of her toughness and competitive spirt.
One of those teammates is outfielder Kelli Shealey. Shealey, who played at Gilbert High, faced off against Bell several times during their prep careers.
"Ciera (Bell) is a great teammate to have. She works really well with others,"Shealey, said.
"She suffered a couple black-eyes after getting dinked with balls. Every time, she bounces back."
Bell's high school coach Carol Massengale said she's not overly surprised at Bell's success.
"Ciera (Bell) is one of the finest players I've coached," Massengale said. "She a hard worker and team oriented. She's a student of the game who plays with a lot of heart."
After batting over .400 through the first six games, Bell admits the transition has come at her fast, but it has not stopped her from striving to be better.
"Right now, I'm trying to make the most of the opportunity given to me," Bell said. "It's a good thing to have success, but I don't want to get caught up in it. Winning as a team is the most important thing for me."
Bell is the daughter of Chuck and Babara Bell of Barnwell.