PELL CITY -- Grace Pruitt signed scholarship papers to play softball at Bishop State Community College in Mobile.
Pruitt signed Wednesday afternoon in the library of Pell City High School.
“I am excited. It is in Mobile close to the beach, and that is one of the main reasons that I picked Bishop State,” Pruitt said. “I like the atmosphere down there, and the girls are really sweet. They welcomed me with open arms.”
Pruitt received interest from another college, but she said it didn’t give her the same feeling as Bishop State.
The Lady Panthers pitchers said her recruiting process wasn’t what she envisioned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is definitely different because there are more restrictions,” she said. “You have to follow certain guidelines and you can’t do certain stuff. It is a lot different than the other people that signed before COVID-19, but I am excited.”
Pell City head coach Terry Isbell said Pruitt is deserving of this opportunity.
We are very proud of her,” Isbell said. “Anytime we have one of our players get to play and get her college paid for, we are very happy for them.
“To get to pitch at that level, there is a price that she had to pay. She plays all summer, all fall and in the spring with us. She has never had a time where she could rest because she had to pitch.
“She made that determination many years ago that she wanted to be a pitcher and play college softball. We are very proud of the work that she and her family have put in. I am very proud of her.”
For spring sports athletes, this is their second season dealing with the pandemic. In 2020, spring sports were forced to an early conclusion due to the coronavirus.
Even though Pruitt lost her junior season, she still found a way to garner the attention of Bishop State head coach Monica Higginbothem.
“I played travel ball, and we were at a tournament in Florence,” Pruitt said. “She was watching. I emailed her prior, and she came down there to scout me out and talked to me. She offered me a tour, then offered me a scholarship after the tour.”
Signing before the season has taken some pressure off Pruitt. Now, the senior is solely focused on making this campaign one to remember.
“I want to take the team to state or nationals if we do have a season,” she said.”I just want them to have fun since we didn’t have that (opportunity) last season.”
Pruitt has been playing softball since she was 4 years old. She comes from a family of pitchers. Her aunts and mom commanded the circle when they were in high school.
Pruitt is grateful for everything her family has taught her about pitching, and she is also proud to be able to take what they taught her to the next level.
“I am excited,” she said. “I feel like I have accomplished something since I am the first one (in my family to sign a softball scholarship).”