Georgia Perimeter College softball coach Ed Schutte and his assistant coach Bob Hudson both did a double-take when they arrived at the Spring Lakes subdivision last week.
"We were driving past the clubhouse and though this was pretty amazing," Schutte said of the packed parking lot. "I told Bob, 'Surely there must be something else going on besides a signing."'
It was indeed just a signing, but the Friday ceremony was far from ordinary.
Columbia County players Allison Foster, Amanda McGraw and Melody Johnson gave the term "signing in triplicate" a whole new meaning, as the senior trio signed letters of intent to attend Georgia Perimeter College on full scholarships next fall.
Friends, teammates, family and coaches witnessed the mass-signing, and that made for a full house at the Spring Lakes clubhouse.
Johnson and Foster played for Evans High School, McGraw played for Lakeside High School, and all were members of The Determinators fastpitch travel team.
"With The Determinators, we're like family. We do everything together," Foster said of the large turnout, but she still was impressed by the show of support at the signing.
"I expected a good many people, but not this many," she said.
Originally, the Dunwoody, Ga. junior college was looking for a pitcher, and the Jaguars found one in right-hander McGraw. After talking to McGraw, Coach Schutte got wind of Foster's ability as a catcher. That prompted discussion of Johnson's prowess as an infielder.
One thing led to another, and the Jags wound up with a three-for-one deal.
"This is the first recruiting Perimeter has done in this area and to get three quality players is really going to help us," Schutte said. "We expect these three girls to jump into our program next year and contribute."
Foster says the practice in high school and travel ball has prepared the Columbia County players for the next level.
"I'm originally from Hephzibah, and when I came here to play I noticed a big difference in competition," she said. "Playing with Evans and The Determinators has made me ready for college softball."
Confidence is nice, but having familiar faces around certainly will enhance the comfort zone.
"I was really nervous about not knowing anybody up there. Allison has been my catcher for three years so we are a good combination. We work really well together," McGraw said. "Melody is really solid. I can always count on her to back me up."
After the players signed their paperwork, the crowd cheered for Columbia County's newest college recruits.
It was only appropriate for Johnson to offer a figurative tip of the cap in return.
"I'm surprised at the turnout, but it feels really good. I'm glad everyone came," she said. "I'll remember this day for the rest of my life."
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