The state’s best high school softball player will stay close to home to play her college ball.
Smyrna rising senior Makenzie Prince, who was named the 2013 Tennessee Gatorade Softball Player of the Year earlier this month, has committed to Middle Tennessee State University.
“I didn’t want to go away from home,” Prince said. “I kind of want to live at home. I’m a big-time home body. That means everything to me.”
Prince, The Daily News Journal’s 2013 Softball Pitcher of the Year, finished 36-6 in the pitcher’s circle this season with a 0.89 ERA. She struck out 370 batters and walked 85. Opponents hit just .133 against her.
Prince, who also had been offered by Trevecca and recruited by UT Martin and Alabama-Huntsville, hit .399 with five home runs and 11 doubles. She also drove in 31 runs.
MTSU has recruited Prince to pitch, but may also give her a chance to hit.
“They told me I’m a pretty good hitter, so I will probably get a chance to hit in college,” Prince said. “That’s what I hope.”
Commitments are non-binding for the athlete and the school. She cannot sign until the early signing period, which begins on Nov. 13. When she signs, she will be the first Smyrna pitcher since Jaclyn Story to ink with the Lady Raiders in 1997.
Prince’s commitment adds to a two-month whirlwind for the right-hander. She pitched Smyrna to its first Class AAA state softball title in May before being named the Gatorade Player of the Year earlier this month. She is Rutherford County’s first Gatorade Softball Player of the Year.
“Well, it’s just unbelievable,” Prince said. “It’s all unexpected. I’m not saying us winning the state was unexpected. It’s just, all of this is coming all at once.
“It’s like, when it rains, it pours. I’m so happy to get the awards and everything. But I couldn’t have won state without the team. They made me look a lot better than I am. Without the team, I wouldn’t be in this situation I am today. Coaches come to watch good teams, not good players. That says a lot about Smyrna.”
Since winning the state title, Prince hasn’t slowed down. The day after the title she played in a tournament in Germantown. She took a week off after that tournament. She plans on also taking time off next week.
“Next week I go to the lake for a week,” Prince said. “That’s my break right there.”