Photo: Southside High School senior Raeleigh McBurnett signed a softball scholarship with Snead State on April 21 at the SHS library. Pictured, sitting, from left: mom Trish, Raeleigh, dad David. Standing: SHS softball coach Brett Yancey. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Raeleigh McBurnett will showcase her softball skills on Sand Mountain for the next two years.
The Southside High senior signed with Snead State on April 21 at the SHS library.
“It’s taken a lot of dedication throughout my whole career,” said McBurnett, who will pursue a degree in nursing at Snead State. “You really have to put in the effort and time, a lot of which people don’t see. You can’t lose your vision; you just have to keep working, and if you do, you’ll see it all work out one day.”
McBurnett liked the small-town atmosphere of the college’s campus in Boaz.
“I like the smaller community and how it’s like a family. Even the girls on the team that will be leaving made me feel so welcome. It was like I’ve known [Snead State softball] coach [Tracy] Grindrod for a while. He really made me feel at home.”
McBurnett helped the Lady Panthers finish second in the area tournament and qualify for the East Central Regional Tournament this past week, where they finished fourth. McBurnett’s numbers for the 2021 season included a .70 batting average; a .344 on-base percentage; 30 hits, including 24 singles, five doubles and one triple; and 33 RBI.
“Raeleigh is a pleasure to coach over these past four years,” said SHS softball coach Brett Yancey. “She is the ultimate team player who I’ve never heard a complaint from. Over the last year, we’ve noticed how much extra time and work Raeleigh’s put in hitting and taking ground balls, and that extra work has paid off. That’s the kind of work ethic it takes to be successful in life. What I’ve seen from Raeleigh this year is a girl who has flourished in her role for the team. For me personally to see Raeleigh have such a good season, I’m elated. Throughout her career, she’s been a great teammate and done what she’s supposed to do. We’re extremely proud of the player she is but we’re even more proud of the fine young lady she’s become.”
Snead State softball head coach Tracy Grindrod foresees McBurnett making an immediate contribution for the Lady Parsons.
“Raeleigh will definitely help us get a leg up with the competition we’ve got coming up next year, and we expect her to contribute right off the bat,” he said. “We’ve been keeping an eye on Raeleigh over the last couple of years, and we like her attitude and her work ethic. We’ve been dipping down in Southside (in recruiting) for the past couple of years, and it’s always good to have a few hometown girls in the program. Raeleigh fits that bill really well.”