Enterprise State Community College softball coach Clair Goodson added core elements to the Boll Weevils defense for the future on Tuesday, signing four players from Wiregrass High School — two pitchers, one infielder and a receiver.
Inking with the Boll Weevils were Abbeville pitcher Christian Gabbie Causey, Dale County second baseman/shortstop Elly Castle as well as Wiregrass Kings pitcher Hannah Phillips and catcher Olivia Hobson.
Causey signed early Tuesday morning at ACA, Castle in the Dale County gymnasium mid-afternoon and Phillips and Hobson early Tuesday evening at Ridgecrest Baptist Church, the home gym of the Wiregrass Kings, a school program at the House.
“For me, defense wins ball games all the time, so if I’m good in the circle, have good defense behind them and score a point or two, we’re there,” Goodson said. .
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Castle continues the family trend
By signing with the CCHS, Dale County’s Castle continues his family’s history in athletics.
His older siblings Regan (volleyball, basketball, and softball), Wade (soccer, basketball, and baseball), and Emily (volleyball, softball) played sports in Dale County. Regan received an offer to play softball at Wallace before focusing on schoolwork, while Emily is currently a member of Wallace’s softball team.
“I’m beyond excited. I’ve been dreaming about it since I was 6,” Elly Castle said. makes me extremely happy.”
Although Emily is a current player at Wallace, the two will not face off as Elly will arrive at CCHS once Emily’s eligibility ends at Wallace.
“We think it’s hilarious because we go from always playing on the same team and being inseparably at rival schools,” Elly Castle said.
“I’ve always looked up to her (Emily). She brought out the aggression in me – her and my dad always pushed me to do my best. Even though they drove me crazy sometimes, I knew that. was for the best. I’m happy to have her as a role model.”
The senior Warrior said she chose ESCC mainly because of Goodson.
“I would love to have him as a coach,” Castle said. “She is very energetic. She makes me feel like I’m at home there. When I went to campus, I just felt like that was where I wanted to go.
Dale County coach Nicole Dutton calls Castle a “phenomenal athlete” who can help a team in a variety of ways.
“Elly is a phenomenal teammate,” Dutton said. “She is very energetic. She’s harder on herself than anyone else and that would probably be her weakness and her strength at the same time. She’s a phenomenal athlete because she can play anywhere on the court you put her. Her teammates love to be around her as she is fun loving and easy going, but she is also the most competitive player on this court at all times.
“She is a momentum changer in games. She’s quick on goal, excellent in defense and gives everything she has all the time.
Goodson likes Castle’s value on defense, especially his range to hit most ground balls.
“I’m really excited to get another shortstop. Elly is capable of playing middle, outfield, corner — anywhere you can put her — but I’m thrilled she’s in the middle,” Goodson said. “It’s his strength. Offensively, Elly will hold on. She’s good on the basics because she’s quick and fast.
Causey d’Abbeville Christian was a dominant pitcher at Abbeville Christian, helping the Generals win back-to-back AISA Class A state titles. As a sophomore, she had a 12-6 pitching record with a 2.18 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 115 2/3 innings. Last spring as a junior, she was 11-3, 1.86 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 90 1/3 innings.
“Gabbie is definitely going to be the power in the circle,” Goodson said. “She will be in my best rounds to throw it. I got to see her (at ACA) and then I saw her with Coach O (Sharon O’Mara) because she does classes with her and she’s one of those bright pitchers. She has good movement, good speed and good presence on the mound.
Hobson and Phillips of the Wiregrass Kings completed CCHS signings on Tuesday.
“It’s just a big accomplishment for me and all the work I’ve done,” Hobson said. “I played for 12 years, so this is a big moment.”
It was a moment of gratification for Phillips in proving others wrong.
“It means a lot to me because a lot of people when I was little around the age of 8-9, they told me I wasn’t going anywhere because I couldn’t hit the ball, couldn’t I couldn’t throw the ball and I couldn’t even catch the ball at that age, but a lot of my coaches helped me and boosted my confidence to where I am today and I thank them all for that,” said Phillips said.
Phillips said former Slocomb and UAB pitcher Amy Woodham played a big role in his development.
“You have to turn that negativity into positivity,” Phillips said. “That’s what motivated me. All the negativity of people telling me, “She won’t be anything in the future.” The person I looked up to is Amy Woodham. I loved the way she pitched and it inspired me as a pitcher today.
This spring, Hobson hit .354 with five triples, 13 doubles, 53 runs scored and 22 stolen bases while leading 48 runners for the Kings.
Phillips hit .397 with 12 doubles, three triples, a home run, 41 RBIs and 30 runs scored. She also pitched, striking out 94 in 112 1/3 innings.
Hobson said Goodson was a major factor in her decision on CCHS, while Phillips felt “at home” on the CCHS campus.
While the two ended up signing with the Boll Weevils, Hobson said it wasn’t planned.
“It just happened,” Hobson said. “I got involved in February and she got involved a few months later. It just worked out.
Wiregrass Kings head coach Shelby Davenport said the two have played an important role in the program for several years. Hobson has been with the Kings since sixth grade and Phillips since ninth grade.
“They were the foundation of our program,” Davenport said. “Olivia has worked so hard. She puts her head down and does her job. She’s a great leader who sets an example. She’ll do anything you ask her whether she thinks it’s right or not. C She’s a super hard worker. She has a great bat. When she got up, I knew she was going to keep going.
“Hannah also works very hard. She loves the game so much. I don’t know if I’ve seen anyone who loves the game so much. to stay late. She always encourages the girls. She is probably our strongest encouragement there.
Enterprise’s Goodson liked what she saw of the two players when recruiting.
“Olivia is a catcher and she can definitely punch too,” Goodson said. “She’s got a great arm and good talent behind home plate. I’m going to be able to work a lot on things that I want to build with her, but she has a great arm and is very smart behind home plate.
“I’ve seen Hannah pitch over the years. She brings something different in that she pitches it differently, but her presence on the mound is special. She’s got one of those poker faces because nothing doesn’t get to her because she seems to be calm and composed all the time. Good pitch, bad pitch, a walk or a strikeout, it’s the same, which is really good.
Goodson added that Phillips has a unique pitch that usually makes it difficult for hitters to walk.
“The way her ball moves, she’s able to cut corners really well,” Goodson said. “She controls the ball well. If his curveball works, the ball will really move and jump on that outside corner. She’s working her spin so she won’t be the fastest pitcher, but she’ll get the batters out with her spin pitches.