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Callaway’s Perkins ready for next challenge

Softball standout to play for LaGrange College

By Kevin Eckleberry

keckleberry@civitasmedia.com

Callaway’s Jessica Perkins stands with fellow seniors Keshonna Terrell, Molly Hubbard, Terriyunna Dunson and Brittany Mitchell during Friday’s ceremony. Perkins is set to play softball at LaGrange College. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/01/web1_perkins2.jpgCallaway’s Jessica Perkins stands with fellow seniors Keshonna Terrell, Molly Hubbard, Terriyunna Dunson and Brittany Mitchell during Friday’s ceremony. Perkins is set to play softball at LaGrange College. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

Jessica Perkins is joined by her teammates and coaches on the Callaway High softball team during Friday’s ceremony. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/01/web1_perkins1.jpgJessica Perkins is joined by her teammates and coaches on the Callaway High softball team during Friday’s ceremony. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

LAGRANGE – Callaway High’s Jessica Perkins is about to achieve her goal of becoming a college-softball player, and she won’t have to go far to do it.

Perkins, who wrapped up a stellar high-school softball career last fall, is set to join the LaGrange College softball program.

She made it official during a ceremony at Callaway High Friday morning, with friends, family members, teammates and coaches there to celebrate the moment with her.

Perkins has been a part of other signing-day ceremonies as an observer, but on Friday, she was the one in the spotlight.

“It really doesn’t seem real,” Perkins said. “It really hasn’t hit me yet. It will eventually.”

It’s a well-deserved honor for Perkins.

She transferred to Callaway as a sophomore, and for three seasons she was one of the team’s top players.

As a senior, despite dealing with an injury early in the season, she ended up putting up her typically strong numbers.

Among the every-day players, Perkins led the way with a .456 batting average, and she was also tops on the team in hits (31) and doubles (nine), and she was among the team leaders with 13 RBIs.

Perkins also pitched in 18 games, and she started a team-best 15 games, and she led the team with four wins.

“She started slowly,” Callaway coach Ashley Summerlin said. “She had a back injury at the start of the season. She really didn’t get going until about the last four weeks of the season. And she still hit .400.”

Perkins is the second senior from the 2015 team to get the opportunity to play college softball.

Brittany Mitchell, who also enjoyed a tremendous prep career, has signed with Columbus State.

Summerlin said one of the other seniors, Keshonna Terrell, could also end up playing softball in college.

The other two seniors from the 2015 team are Molly Hubbard and Terriyunna Dunson.

Perkins said she’ll always treasure the time she spent with her fellow softball seniors.

“We just have a bond, because we played rec ball together, and travel ball, and we went to state together,” Perkins said. “We’ve been through a lot together.”

Now Perkins is set to join a program that has thrived under head coach Jennifer Claybrook.

Last season, the Panthers won the USA South championship and reached the NCAA Division III tournament.

Perkins said she enjoyed getting to know Claybrook during the recruiting process.

“I used to go to her camps when I was little, but I didn’t really know her,” Perkins said. “I got to know her on my college visit, and she’s really nice. I liked her personality.”

Summerlin is always thrilled to see one of his players get a chance to play college softball, no matter the level.

“When you get an opportunity go anywhere to play it’s great,” Summerlin said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the University of Georgia, or LaGrange College.”

Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports