Since it was always a dream for Kayla Clark to play college softball, it’s safe to say she’s more than thrilled that cooler heads prevailed when Clark nearly decided to give up her attempt to find a college that would recruit her.
Clark was content with just finishing out her senior softball season at Houston County and applying at a university to concentrate on academics. But just as the District 10-A softball tournament finished, Clark was summoned to Jackson State Community College to work out for its softball coach. That day proved huge as Jackson State offered her on the spot.
Clark signed with the small junior college last week.
“They wanted to see how I pitched,” Clark said. “I was really nervous because my future was on the line. Anyone who knows me knows that it’s been a dream of mine for a long time to play college softball. I didn’t want to mess that up.”
Clark felt she pitched “very badly,” but concedes her nerves may have clouded her memory.
“Obviously they liked me,” Clark said. “They offered me that day so I guess I did pretty good. It just felt like I couldn’t throw anything I wanted because I was nervous.”
Jackson State recruited Clark as a pitcher, but she could see time as a first baseman. Jackson State called Houston County coach Dalesa Hughes just before the district tournament started, but it was girls basketball coach Sam Young who reached out to Jackson State about Clark.
“They were going to come and watch me play during the district softball tournament, but the coach (at Jackson State) couldn’t make it,” Clark said.
“After our season was over they invited me down to Jackson to work out for them.”
Jackson State was the only school to offer the Lady Irish star, although she did look at other programs. She helped Houston County to a regular season district title and a runner-up finish in the district tournament. Forest beat Houston County in the first game of the region tournament.
“Really, once the district tournament ended, I changed my mind completely about just wanting to concentrate on academics,” Clark said. “I get the chance to play college ball and that’s exciting and I don’t want to take that for granted. I’m just going to work hard and see what happens.”