HATTON — Staying close to home was important to Hillary Carpenter as she went about making a decision on where she would play college softball.
So when North Alabama made her an offer the Hatton standout knew her decision was made.
Carpenter made it official Friday, signing a letter-of-intent with UNA during an afternoon ceremony at Hatton.
“I went to UNA’s camp in August and they told me they were interested,” Carpenter said.
“Later on they made me an offer. Being able to live at home was important to me, so that made it an easy decision.”
Carpenter gives new UNA coach Jason Anderson a left-handed pitcher that has led the Hornets to three consecutive Class 2A state championships. In 2012 she repeated as the Class 2A Pitcher and Player of the Year after recording a 33-6 record and a 1.10 earned run average. Carpenter threw four no-hitters, 13 shutouts and recorded 274 strikeouts in 167 innings.
Although UNA has struggled in recent years, Carpenter said she likes the potential of the Lions.
“I’m excited about playing at UNA,” she said. “I really like the coaching staff. I feel like we can do some big things in the future.”
Hatton coach John Smith said there is he has no doubts that Carpenter will be successful in making the transition from high school to college softball.
“Hillary has led us to three championships and I feel like she’ll lead UNA to a championship one day,” Smith said. “There is no doubt in my mind that she will step right in and contribute her first year. She will help put UNA softball on the map.
“The great thing about Hillary is her work ethic. She works so hard outside of practice and is always trying to improve her game. She’ll be the first to tell you that she has been surrounded by good players, but it all starts on that pitching rubber.”
Carpenter said he was happy to have recruiting out of the way so she can focus on trying to win a fourth state championship in her senior season. Although she said there are parts of her game that she needs to improve, Carpenter is confident she will be successful at UNA.
“I feel like I’m ready and I have what it takes,” she said. “But I know UNA has some good pitchers now and I’m looking forward to working with them. The main thing I need to work on is keeping my composure and not letting little things bother me.
“It feels good to know that this year I can just play and not worry about trying to impress anyone.”
Jeff McIntyre can be reached at
256-740-5737 or email@example.com.