PELL CITY -- Pell City High School senior second baseman Katie Henderson signed a letter-of-intent to play softball at Marion Military Institute (Marion, Alabama) during a ceremony at the high school’s library Thursday afternoon.
Henderson said she wasn’t considering offers from other schools and was happy to have the decision made before softball season. She added her decision to sign with the Lady Tigers was inspired by her grandfather and cousin, who served in the Marines and the Air Force, respectively.
“I’m very interested in the military -- the Marines and Army mostly,” she said. “I’m not sure (if I’ll join the military) yet, but I’d like to.”
Pell City head softball coach Terry Isbell raved about Henderson’s positive attributes that Marion will get to see after she graduates in 2020.
“They’re getting a phenomenal player, and most importantly, they’re getting a phenomenal student-athlete,” he said. “She works extremely hard, plays all the time and makes great grades. I’m very proud of her and her accomplishments. Anytime you get to play at the next level, you’ve got to be very happy for them.
“She’s going to do well there and she’s going to have a good year at Pell City High School. All her teammates love her to death. She’s a great leader. We’re so proud of her.”
The Lady Panthers reached the Class 6A state tournament in Montgomery in 2019. Isbell said Henderson played a key role in the team’s postseason run.
“At the beginning of the year, she started out at shortstop, which she is a great shortstop, but we needed someone to play second base because there’s a lot of action there from the bunting game,” he said. “She’s very unselfish. If I was to tell her to play another position, she’d be wide-open at it.”
Isbell commended Henderson’s desire to one day consider a military career.
“You’ve got to be very proud of somebody, a young person that wants to go into the military and serve their country,” he said. “To me, that’s a big sacrifice that you have to make as a young person. We’re very proud that she’s maybe decided she wants to do that one day, but right now, we’re concentrating on her academics and softball.”
Henderson said she’s looking forward to her opportunity with the Lady Tigers.
“Jeff Benson, the head coach there, is very good, and he can really get me to another four-year college, which would be good and get me a lot of experience under my belt,” she said. “I don’t really know what position I’ll play there, but anywhere is pretty good to me.”
Henderson is not setting any lofty goals for her final season at Pell City. Instead, she’s focused more on the process.
“(My goal is) just to play like we know how to play -- play like Pell City softball and just have a good year like I know we can,” Henderson said.
Henderson said she plans to focus on general coursework at Marion in order to prepare for a potential transfer to a four-year college.