POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Long before coach Christie Meeks makes her debut on the field as Pearl River's new softball coach she has been hard at work laying the foundation of her program. The Wildcats just completed their fall ball season and on Friday the first-year head coach announced 13 new additions to her program.
Pearl Rivers 2020 class includes West Harrison's Cassady Bradford, Bowling Green, Louisiana's Madelyn Burch, Vancleave's Erin Daughtery, Porter's Chapel Academy's Hannah Embry, Pearl River Central's Payton Lee and Keigan Pearson, West Marion's Hannah Miller, Poplarville's Grace Raby, Belle Chase, Louisiana's Aunie Rethmeyer, Wayne County's Emily Rigney, West Jones' Madilyn Waters and Clinton Christian Academy's Taylor "Rae-Rae" York and Makiya Hunter.
"I'm really excited about this 2020 class," Meeks said. "With them coming in as our first group of kids they're humble, excited and eager. They're ready to keep the culture of family and teamwork that we've established here so far. Signing three local kids and then signing some other kids from around the area anywhere from two to three hours is a huge deal to us.
"I'm excited that we have a diverse group of athletes in this group and on top of that they're untapped and are ready to be coached up and polished. I'm honored these 13 ladies have chosen to join our program and become Pearl River Wildcats."
Bradford is a versatile playmaker from West Harrison who can make plays in the circle and at the plate.
"Ever since I started playing this amazing sport, I have dreamed about one day competing at the next level," Bradford said. "All of my hard work and dedication has finally paid off. I am extremely blessed to be given the opportunity to play at Pearl River. I can't wait to be able to play for this amazing program."
As a junior, Bradford hit .400 with 27 RBIs, while also holding an ERA of 1.80 with a 12-6 record.
"I see Cassady coming in and helping us right away," Meeks said. "This past summer I watched her blossom at the plate and I think that trend is going to continue as time goes on."
Burch committed late to Pearl River but provides a solid arm that the Wildcats will be able to rely on in the future.
"I just see Madelyn improving more and more when she gets here," Meeks said. "She's very mentally tough and keeps her composure."
Added Burch: "I'm super excited to be continuing my softball career. I can't wait to join the Wildcat family."
Daughtery is a consistent hitter who averaged .316 at the plate and batted in 19 runs.
"Erin was the very first commit we got when we took over," Meeks said. "She's a very humble kid who is also very powerful. She is going to bring a lot to the table in terms of hitting and she can play anywhere on the infield and the outfield."
"I'm very excited to continue my education and softball career at Pearl River," Daughtery said.
Embry will provide a lot of variety for the Wildcats in the circle when she arrives to campus.
"Hannah can sling it," Meeks said. "She has a lot of great movement and a great change up on top of that. She's going to do some good things for us pitching.
"I loved the family feel when I went on my visit to PRCC," Embry said. "I can't wait to be there."
Hunter provides another high character signee to the Wildcats class.
"Makiya is a great completion to our 2020 class," Meeks said. "She brings a lot of energy and power as well as has a strong family mindset."
"I'm very excited to take the next step in my academic and softball career at PRCC," Hunter said.
Lee will provide a true power presence at the plate for the Wildcats. As a junior, Lee hit .446 with 41 RBIs and seven home runs.
"Payton is a huge get for us," Meeks said. "She's a two sport athlete at PRC and is very fast and she can put a lot of pressure on the bases and she's a local kid whose passionate about being at Pearl River."
"I'm super excited to be given the opportunity to meet new people and play with players who will challenge me as a player and boost me up as a person and learn ways to better my game under new leadership," Lee said.
Miller will provide another productive bat at the plate for the Wildcats.
As a sophomore, Miller batted .442 with 17 RBIs and also pressures opponents with her base running.
"Hannah is a kid that just puts pressure on teams on the bases," Meeks said. "She swings with a lot of power too."
"I am beyond excited to continue my softball career as a PRCC Wildcat," Miller said. "I'm glad to have gotten the opportunity on the next level and be apart of a program where I know I will succeed."
Pearson, much like her high school teammate Lee, will bring another powerful bat to the lineup for Pearl River.
As a junior, Pearson batted .435 along with 30 RBIs.
"Keigan is going to be very powerful for us," Meeks said. "She can swing really well from the left side. Her mom played here as well and and she was very excited to be able to continue that tradition in her family."
"I am excited to play softball here," Pearson said. "I get to meet new people, play at the next level and get the experience to play where my mom played."
Raby will provide a local hometown feel for the Wildcats being a homegrown talent from Poplarville.
"It's awesome to have a kid from Poplarville committed here," Meeks said. "Her dad also works here and it's awesome to have more of that family feel here around the team."
"I am very excited to become a Wildcat and get to play with so many girls I know from travel ball," Raby said. "Coach Meeks has already made me feel like family, and I can't wait to officially be a part of the Pearl River softball team!"
Rethmeyer will provide more quality depth to the batting lineup for the Wildcats.
As a junior, Rethmeyer averaged .278 with 17 RBIs.
"Aunie is fast and she can slap," Meeks said. "She's a switch hitter and has a great pop time but she's also a very humble kid. Her personality fits so well with this group of athletes that are coming in this year."
"The thought of signing makes me as an athlete, extremely emotional," Rethmeyer said. "In all my years of playing softball, my one goal was to get to this day and honestly, there has not been a greater feeling. I cannot thank my coaches and family enough for giving me the opportunity to and skill to be where I am now. I am extremely excited to join this team and I am even more excited to meet all the girls that I will play with at Pearl River."
Rigney will bring a blue collar work ethic feel to the team when she arrives on campus.
"Emily came to a camp that we had and really stood out to me," Meeks said. "Her demeanor is very humble and she's a very sweet kid. She's the kind of kid that you want to build your program with.
"I am excited to start this new journey at Pearl River," Rigney said. "I am thankful for the opportunity Pearl River softball has given me to continue my softball career."
Waters will provide added depth and athleticism to the Wildcats lineup.
"She's an extremely smart kid and is very athletic," Meeks said. "She's very quick on her feet."
" I am thankful and excited to have the opportunity to continue my softball career at Pearl River Community College," Waters said. "I look forward to embracing the road ahead!"
RAE RAE YORK
York is an athletic shortstop that will push for playing time early.
"Rae Rae is real smooth with her glove, I see her coming in and just trying to push," Meeks said. "She slaps and is very effective at that and she can hit some home runs."
"I am excited to start my next chapter of my life in academics and playing for the Wildcats," York said. "Let me hear that roar!!!"
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Pearl River Community College
Assistant Director of Communications for Athletics