Franklin senior Madison Cousineau truthfully hated her first visit to Mississippi State University.
Thank goodness then for second chances as Cousineau is one of the Southeastern Conference school’s newest softball recruits.
The Panthers catcher and former All-Western North Carolina Athletic Conference selection said she has committed to the Bulldogs after also considering Georgia Tech, East Carolina and Western Carolina.
Cousineau’s admits her initial impression of everything going on in Starkville, Miss., was not good.
But she became enamored with Mississippi State and coach Vann Stuedeman with subsequent visits.
“I didn’t like it all the first time I went, but the true factor that swayed me was (Stuedeman),” Cousineau said.
“She is so outgoing and personal. She is really a dream coach. This is definitely a big relief to make the decision and very exciting.”
Cousineau was a member of the Tennessee Fury team that won the Amateur Softball Association of America Gold 16 and under tournament last month in Broken Arrow, Okla.
Cousineau’s bat is what attracted most college recruiters – she hit .302 with 18 RBIs, five home runs and two doubles for the Panthers (8-12) last spring.
But Franklin coach Adam Tallent said that her defense is underrated.
“Madison can hit the ball a mile. She has unbelievable power and that’s what most people notice first,” Tallent said.
“But she’s a great catcher. She frames the ball well and is a wall back there.”
Cousineau is the younger sister of Maleah Cousineau, who continued her career at Fairfield (Conn.) and is now an assistant coach at SUNY Canton (N.Y.). Maleah Cousineau did not play high school softball as a senior at Franklin in 2008 due to her travel-ball commitments and the family briefly moved to Georgia. But the Cousineaus eventually relocated to Macon County.
“You can tell just by watching Madison that she has sunk a lot of time and effort into getting where she’s at,” Tallent said.
“Whether it’s a tournament or practice, she is doing something softball-related every weekend. Along with pure ability, that’s one of the reasons that she is getting noticed. The great news is we have her for one more year and we’re looking forward to it.”
Madison Cousineau is one of four WNC seniors who have committed to play college softball along with Enka’s Jasmine Palmer (Florida State) and Marrah Troutman (Belmont-Abbey), Erwin’s Kayla McCarson (North Greenville) and Hiwasseee Dam’s Morgan Helton (North Georgia).
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