By Chris McCarthy/Editor
Madison Grant’s academic and athletic prowess paid off on Apr. 22.
The Etowah High senior signed a softball scholarship with Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kent.
“This is something I worked for all my life,” said Grant, who plans on majoring in psychophysiology. “I actually wanted to hate the campus when I visited because it’s so far away, but I loved everything about it – the coaches, the players, everything was wonderful. I felt that this was the place where I belonged.”
On the mound this season, Grant currently has a 21-8 pitching record, 1.89 earned run average and 201 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .200 overall batting average. At the plate, she is batting .440 with 21 doubles, three triples, seven home runs, 38 RBI, 50 run scored and an on-base percentage of .497.
Grant’s production has helped Etowah to a 34-13 record, the regular season area title and a No. 9 ranking in the ASWA state softball poll.
“When I took over last year, I was blessed to inherit not just Madi but a good team as a whole,” said EHS head softball coach Stephen Coggins. “I can’t say enough about Madi; she’s an outstanding pitcher and hitter who plays well on defense. There’s nothing related to sports that she can’t do. She’s just a great athlete in general who always tires to lift up her teammates. No matter of we’re winning a game 10-0 or losing 10-0, Madi’s always going to give her best.”
Last season, Grant went 27-6 on the mound with 203 strikeouts and a 1.54 ERA. She batted .348 with five doubles, five home runs and an on-base percentage of .500.
“Madi’s a great student and good kid in general, and I’m lucky to coach her and the girls are lucky to play with her,” Coggins added. “I really see not only competing at the next level but excelling. I also see Madi playing beyond [college], because against the better pitches and teams we play, she raises her game and thrives under pressure, and that’s the mark of a really good player.”
Grant will leave one successful softball program for another. The Blue Raiders have won the Mid South Conference championship five times in the last six years. Lindsey Wilson currently is ranked No. 6 in the NAIA national poll.
“In just the short time we’ve known each other, I know that Madison is driven to get better,” said Lindsey Wilson head softball coach David Dews. “It’s a wonderful thing when you run into people who you don’t even know who say nothing but wonderful things about Madison, and not just about the player she but the person she is.”
Grant pointed out that she and her teammates have no intention of their season ending in the opening round of the North Regional Tournament, as did the 2015 Lady Blue Devils.
“We’re peaking at the right time, so when we get there, we’re going to make sure that we don’t have a repeat of last year. We have to take care of business and do what we have to do to get to state.”