Two Harlem High School softball players, who led the team to a region title, are headed to play college ball together.
Seniors Abbie Drake and Morgan Barton, both 18, were two of seven seniors that led the Lady Bulldogs to a Region 3-AA title in October.
“It’s going to be tough losing them,” Coach Mike Leverett said. “I really enjoyed coaching these girls.”
Second baseman Drake and catcher Barton agreed to partial scholarships to play softball for Middle Georgia State College in Cochran, Ga., at a signing ceremony Thursday.
Leverett said he told Middle Georgia Coach Ken Phillips that he’s getting two great softball players in the pair of three-year starters from Harlem. Drake and Barton were leaders on the team and helped the team to fifth place in the Georgia High School Association state tournament.
“(Barton) is probably one of the best catchers that I’ve ever coached,” Leverett said. “She was a wall behind that plate. If that ball hit the dirt, it was going to hit her. It wasn’t going to get by her.”
Barton had a .290 batting average with 12 RBI in her senior season.
Drake was a leader on the team and turned a record number of double plays with the shortstop.
“(The shortstop) and Abbie turned more double plays that anybody I’ve ever had here,” Leverett said. “Abbie was great on defense.”
Drake had a .358 batting average with 20 RBI.
The pair said they worked hard during their senior seasons and accomplished two of the three goals they set for themselves – to win region and qualify for the state tournament.
“We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish,” Drake said. “I was satisfied with the season.”
Barton, who has played softball since she was 5, said she and Drake, who started playing at age 12 and also played for the Georgia Rockers travel team, have played together for several years. They always wanted to play college softball.
“Now we’re here and we have four years left,” Barton said. “Make the best of it.”