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June 29, 2013

Faith, family and softball

Marlow grad Tinney steps up for MACU

DUNCAN — In the world of sports, every athlete usually takes a break during the offseason.

But for Marlow grad and current Mid America Christian University softball standout, Amber Tinney, offseason is a term that simply doesn’t exist in her world.

“Softball has helped me develop character, discipline and work ethic, while giving all the glory to God,” Tinney said. “I firmly believe everything is possible through him. Softball might be just a game, but I can’t imagine life without a big yellow ball, a bat and that nocona glove beside me.”

After transferring from Rose State College in the spring of 2012, Tinney has exploded onto the scene at MACU in Moore, showing why the Lady Evangels'’ wanted her on their squad so bad.

In her junior season, the former Lady Outlaw hit .316 at the plate with 24 hits, three doubles and 12 RBI.

On the mound she collected three of her teams 11 victories on the season, while striking out 41 batters in 67 innings of work.

But aside from the change on the field, Tinney said she’s never regretted moving to MACU, simply because it’s had a greater impact on her as a person, and a Christian.

“Transferring to MACU was one of the best decisions I have ever made,” she said. “Everyone that is apart of the community at MACU is so welcoming and they care about all of us as individuals. Before I came here, I was a firm believer in Christ, but being at a Christian university allows that relationship to become a lot stronger.”

While the season might not have gone as Tinney and her teammates would have liked this year, there was a far greater reward that occurred off the field just over a month ago, that was better than any victory.  

On the afternoon of May 20, 2013 Tinney’s new community was struck by a monstrous EF5 tornado that rampaged through Moore leaving devastation in its wake.

Rather than take safe haven away from the damage, Tinney along with her new soon to be teammate and best friend Ashley Sanford stepped up and immediately jumped at the opportunity to volunteer at the Norman Presbyterian Church, where they helped local children in need.  

“The tornado missed MACU by two miles,” Tinney recalled about the May 20 event. “MACU is a big part of the Moore community. I wanted to give back because Moore is my second home and it’s the least I could do. Being an elementary education major, I had observed many times at Moore schools, and it was heartbreaking to hear about the children. Those kids were so loving to us. It was a real eye opener, and made me realize I am blessed and not to take things for granted.”

When she is not on the mound striking out batters and making an impact for MACU, Tinney applies her talents and knowledge in other areas, helping out as an assistant coach for the 14 and under Oklahoma Strikezone team and Stingrays under 10 squad in the Duncan Youth Softball League at Hines Field, in addition to also providing pitching lessons.

“I love being around the girls on both squads I help out with,” Tinney said. “There’s never a dull moment with them and they will always keep you on your toes. Giving lessons is something that I have a lot of fun with, but also take very serious. I’m hoping these girls know that anything is possible if you work hard and have a great attitude. Someday I want to see these girls playing college ball and getting an education just like I am.”

Another huge part of Tinney’s life and her success is her solid family foundation. At nearly every game, Amber’s mom Tammy and dad Rodney can be heard cheering their daughter on, along with grandparents Sandy and Woody Meek, aunt Sharon Hawkins and grandmother Jesse Tinney.

“I wouldn’t be where I am without my parents and God,” Amber said. “I’m so blessed and thankful for all the time and money they have put into softball. There’s so many athletes who would love to have the support system I have, and I’m lucky enough to have my parents and grandparents. I would especially like to thank my dad for sitting on a bucket countless times, taking pegs from those drop balls and all the support he’s given me. Also, my mom is an incredible role model and friend, and I can’t thank her enough.”

Before her squad can focus on improvement during the 2013-14 season, Amber and her Lady Evangels'’ teammates will embark on a mission trip journey to Reynosa, Mexico beginning Friday, July 5.

“This is going to be the experience of a lifetime,” Amber said. “We are all like sisters on this team, and all have such big hearts. My hope is that we have a positive impact on all the children in Reynosa. And I really all of us come out of this seeing how lucky we are to have the opportunity to work with these kids and teach them the game of softball.”

And as for next season?

“We know where we need to be for this upcoming year,” Amber said. “I’m very determined to help get us there. This past season is behind me and I’m going to work as hard as I can to get ready.”



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