ROCKINGHAM — Kayla Hawkins, a rising junior who plays first base for the Richmond softball team, recently announced that she has verbally committed to play her college softball at Coker College (S.C.).
Hawkins made the decision last Monday, June 11, but waited until her travel team, Carolina Elite, got to its tournament in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on Friday, June 15, to share the news on her Twitter page.
“Extremely excited to announce that I have verbally committed to Coker to further my softball career and academic career! Can’t wait to be a Cobra!!,” she tweeted Friday afternoon.
Hawkins has been in touch with Coker’s coaching staff for a little more than a year now, saying “they caught my eye” while she was attending one of the school’s camps in the summer of 2017. This past January, she went on an unofficial visit and was able to get an in-depth tour of the Coker campus and learn more about the college’s history.
That was, essentially, all she needed to choose the Cobras over the offer she had received from Limestone College (S.C.).
“I just felt like I was home and it was meant for me to be there,” Hawkins said of her unofficial visit. “I like how small the school is, how small the class sizes are, and the softball staff … and it’s closer to home.”
Coker made it to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regionals for the first time in 11 years, and finished with a 36-18 overall record, this past season. Although it won’t be until the fall of 2020 when she enrolls, Hawkins is already imagining what her hitting abilities could do to help head coach Travis McCall and the Cobras advance even further in the NCAA Tournament.
The rising junior slugger finished the 2018 high school season with 31 hits (nine home runs), a .352 batting average, a .450 on-base percentage and a .727 slugging percentage. Hawkins has 44 RBI, 36 hits and 11 homers for her career.
She’s been a key member of the Richmond softball team that has won back-to-back undefeated conference titles and made it to two consecutive NCHSAA 4A Western Regional Finals. The next step, Hawkins says, is making sure the Lady Raiders reach the State Championship series and come away with the much-coveted trophy.
“The (Richmond) softball team is a family, and having that (bond) is something special,” Hawkins said. “I just want to get better and I hope, for the team, that we can get that ring this coming year.”
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at [email protected] For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.