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Roseville graduate is on a power trip

Tenaya Tucker ties UNC Charlotte season record with 11 home runs
By: Kayla Nix/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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Former Roseville High School softball player Tenaya Tucker is having major success in her senior season at the University of North Carolina Charlotte.

Her role this season is power hitter — for the first time in her career.

Tucker has tied the school record of 11 home runs. With four games left in the regular season, including a doubleheader today at the University of Dayton in Ohio, Tucker is on track to break that record.

“I didn’t expect to be breaking records,” Tucker said Wednesday. “I usually hit doubles and stuff. It feels really good to be able to accomplish that.”

Tucker, the starting catcher for the 49ers, had two home runs in a loss to Fordham on April 15. Two days later, she hit two more in a 9-1 victory over George Washington. Those four put her at 10 for the season.

There were 15 family members visiting Tucker during senior weekend in Charlotte when she went on the home run spree.

“She knew they were all coming, and she was super excited for all of them to come there and see where she’s living and see her play,” said Tucker’s mom, Laura Remington. “She did really good playing with all of them there.”

The group included parents, grandparents, cousins, siblings and more. Tucker was thrilled to have them there.

“Usually, I’m nervous to play in front of people I know,” Tucker said. “I love having them back here, glad they got to come out and see where I’ve been for the last four years. They got to experience it for themselves. … They got to see what I’ve been doing and what I’ve been a part of for the last four years.”

The following Wednesday, Tucker hit a solo homer for Charlotte’s only run in a 2-1 loss to South Carolina.

Tucker hit six home runs in her first three seasons combined.

“She was a consistent hitter but not a power hitter,” Remington said. “She got a lot of hits, but she was not a home run hitter.”

This season, Tucker leads the team in hitting with a .400 average. She has a .759 slugging percentage and leads the team in hits (58), doubles (17) and RBI (42).

“We’ve tweaked our hitting styles this year, and that’s helped a lot,” Tucker said.

Tucker also has amped up her time in the weight room.

She shares the school’s single-season home run record with Kristi Painter, the team’s hitting coach.

“She’s probably one of my biggest supporters about it,” Tucker said of Painter. “I was kind of under her wing when I did it so she was a big part of it.”

Tucker graduated from Roseville in 2007 and hit a combined .464 for the Tigers in her last three seasons, including .591 in her junior year. She totaled 71 hits in that time without a home run.

She has been a force on and off the field since entering college. She’s pursuing a double major in criminal justice and psychology, and with a full-time academic load, along with softball, she’ll graduate on time in May.

Tucker then hopes to go to Washington, D.C., to take classes at American University and find an internship through the Washington Internship for Native Students. Her ultimate hope is to return to the Roseville area to work with juvenile or domestic violence victims.

If not in Roseville, she’d be content with a job in Charlotte, which has become a second home.

POWER SURGE
Tenaya Tucker’s softball career numbers at UNC Charlotte:
Year     AB    R      H  HR  RBI    Avg.
2008    115    3     20    1     12    .174
2009    162    8     53    0     29    .327
2010    189   15    55    5     35    .291
2011    145   30    58   11     42   .400
Totals  611  56  186  17  118   .304