Big day for LaGrange’s Sutton

Published 10:28 pm Wednesday, November 8, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – There’ll be another Granger in Americus.

During a ceremony on Wednesday afternoon, LaGrange High’s Shaq Sutton signed a letter of intent to join the Georgia Southwestern softball program.

When Sutton makes her way to Americus, she’ll join ranks with another former Lady Granger.

A year ago, it was Lauren Kuerzi signing her letter of intent to play softball at Georgia Southwestern, and she’s in the midst of her freshman season.

The two will be teammates when Georgia Southwestern hits the field for the 2018-2019 season.

“I’m excited that she does know somebody going in, because it’s a lot easier to make that transition,” LaGrange head coach Gabby Heath said. “It’s very strenuous and time-consuming. Somebody that’s there to support you is always good.”

Sutton came to the attention of the Georgia Southwestern coaches when she attended a camp a few months ago in Americus.

The camp was run by Nicki Levering, who was hired as Georgia Southwestern’s head coach in June.

“I went to the camp, and that’s how I got offered,” Sutton said.

Sutton was a standout player for four seasons at LaGrange, and she had an exceptional senior year.

Sutton was a catcher and outfielder this season, and she said she’ll likely play the outfield at Georgia Southwestern.

On a team where more than half of the starters were freshmen, Sutton’s role was a critical one last season, both for what she produced on the field, and the leadership she provided.

“That confidence that she has, especially behind the plate, helped us maintain a calmness during the game,” Heath said. “So, that was a huge help.”

Sutton was a part of the LaGrange for five years, and Heath was there with her every step of the way.

“She was part of the first junior-varsity team I ever coached,” Heath said. “My first year as the head coach on JV, she was my third baseman. And she’s transformed so much from then to now with the confidence, the ability.”

Heath added that “I’m excited for her to be able to take that confidence, and use it toward her college career.”

Sutton’s time as a student-athlete at LaGrange isn’t done.

Basketball season will begin shortly, and Sutton will be a key member of the team.

Soon enough, though, Sutton will be leaving high school behind.

“There are a lot of memories. I’ll miss it,” Sutton said. “But it’s time to move on.”

Sutton was grateful for all of the support she had during her signing-day ceremony.

Among those who were there for her were friends, teammates in softball and basketball, family members, and coaches.

“That was special,” Sutton said. “It lets me know that people have my back and support me.”

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