PERKINSTON — Two Mississippi Gulf Coast softball players have signed to continue their collegiate playing careers at four-year schools. Pitcher Avery Sanders will play at NCAA Division II Mississippi College, and outfielder Katie Beth Williams is going to USCAA Mississippi University for Women.
Sanders, a right-hander from Thibodaux, La., went 9-5 as a freshman with a 3.27 ERA. She struck out 88 batters in 100.2 innings. In her first outing Saturday, she took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. Sanders struck out 14 with only two walks in a 2-0 loss.
"I learned to be confident in myself and my teammates," she said of her time so far at Perkinston. "They have your back no matter what."
Mississippi College went 29-16 last season. The Lady Choctaws were alive in the Gulf South Conference when the tournament was canceled because of wet conditions.
"I had wanted to go there for the longest time, since I was a senior in high school," Sanders said. "I came here, and the chance came, and they really liked me. I love it there."
Sanders is again a key starting pitcher this season for the Lady Bulldogs.
"She's been a great, great ambassador, and she's been a great pitcher," Gulf Coast coach Kenneth Long said. "She's going to have an outstanding year. She's a really good student, too."
Williams, a sophomore from Smithville, played in 32 games as a freshman. She batted .261 with two doubles, two triples and 11 RBI.
"The W said they have a big team, so I think being here on this big team has prepared me for that," she said.
MUW went 21-19 last season and advanced to the fourth round of the USCAA Small College World Series.
"It's closer to home," Williams said. "I'm not ready to give up softball yet. This is their second year to have softball, so they're just starting up."
Long appreciates how he's been able to plug Williams into whatever spot he can use her in his lineup.
"She's been really, really awesome," he said. "She plays anywhere we ask her to play. She pinch-runs. She plays the outfield and has a good arm. She's going to help us this year.
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