Carthage softball players pledge to colleges
When the Carthage Lady Bulldogs hit the diamond on Jan. 20 to begin practice for the 2016 high school softball season, three members of the team will have already taken a big step in locking up their college futures.
Kayman Courtney, Carson Robertson and Chelcie Pierce have all given verbal pledges — Courtney to the University of Kansas and Robertson and Pierce to NCAA Division III powerhouse UT Tyler.
Courtney hit .492 a year ago at Beckville, belting 12 home runs to go along with 17 doubles, seven triples, 61 RBIs, 68 runs scored and 19 stolen bases.
"She is beyond talented, obviously, but her work ethic is without a doubt top-notch," Carthage head coach Matt Folmar said of Courtney. "She puts in countless hours outside what I or her travel team requires, and is simply a workhorse."
Kansas competes in the Big 12 conference along with Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech. The Jayhawks finished 31-20 overall and 8-9 in the Big 12 in 2016.
Pierce also comes to Carthage from Beckville, where she hit 22 home runs and drove in 106 runs the past two seasons.
In 2016, Pierce hit .490 with 11 home runs, 14 doubles, two triples, 60 RBIs and 42 runs scored while also going 13-1 as a pitcher with a 1.45 earned run average, 99 strikeouts and 26 walks in 72 innings pitched.
She was a .560 hitter in 2015 with 11 home runs, 13 doubles, a triple, 46 RBIs and 43 runs scored.
"Chelcie has passion and great leadership qualities," Folmar said. "She has been the driving force in our offseason."
Robertson hit .385 with a home run, 10 doubles, three triples, 18 RBI and 14 runs scored at Spring Hill in 2016, and was a .473 hitter with two home runs, five doubles, a triple, 20 RBI and 25 runs scored in 2015. She has struck out just 11 times in 152 at bats the past two seasons.
"She's quiet, but she's a worker," Folmar said of Robertson. "She isn't one to draw attention to herself. She just puts in work each day and lets her actions speak louder than her words."
UT Tyler carved out a 49-5 record overall and a 29-0 mark in the American Southwest Conference en route to earning a national championship. The Patriots are joined the ASC by LeTourneau, East Texas Baptist University, Belhaven, Concordia, Hardin-Simmons, Howard Payne, Louisiana College, Mary Hardin-Baylor, Sul Ross, Ozarks and UT Dallas.
(Follow Jack Stallard on Twitter: @lnjsports)