SOFTBALL: Bradford to bring versatility to Tennessee Wesleyan

Among those on hand to see LFO senior Karson Bradford (seated, center) sign her letter of intent with Tennessee Wesleyan included parents Jamie and Jake Bradford. On the back row are LFO assistant softball coach Nicole Josephsen, LFO assistant softball coach Lauren Dyer, LFO head softball coach Tony Ellis, Tennessee Wesleyan assistant softball coach Rocky Stinson and Steven Rogers. (Photo by Scott Herpst)

Ever since she first put on a softball glove, Karson Bradford has wanted to one day play in college.

Thursday afternoon, she took the first step in realizing her dream as the LFO senior signed her letter of intent with Tennessee Wesleyan University in Athens, Tenn.

"All my life, I've wanted to play in college so this day means a lot to me," Bradford said, while surrounded by family and friends. "I'm very excited. Tennessee Wesleyan is only 45 minutes from home. I wanted to go somewhere that was a pretty good distance away, but somewhere I could still come home on the weekends.

"They also have the degree I want. I really like the coaches there and I liked the campus when I went to visit."

Bulldogs assistant coach Rocky Stinson said the coaches at TWU liked Bradford's versatility.

"From looking at Karson and talking to (head) Coach Toby Brooks about her, one thing we like is her ability to be a utility player for us," he explained. "She has a good bat and as long as that bat is working, we can use her at different positions. She can definitely play in the dirt on the infield or I think she could transition to an outfielder. There will be a lot of options with her coming into next fall as long as she's willing to put the work in and get after it. And from what we've seen, she looks like she's the type of player that's going to do that."

Bradford hit a combined .270 over the past two seasons and .318 as a junior. During that span she hit 10 doubles and one home run, scored 31 runs and drove in 31 more.

She helped the Lady Warriors to a 22-win campaign last fall, a Region 6-AAA runner-up finish and the Sweet 16 round of the Class 3A state tournament.

"She's been a good third baseman for us, but she could probably play other positions as well," LFO head coach Tony Ellis said. "She was a solid player for us for four years and a good kid. She's a good student and she's going to a good place where she will excel, not only in the field but in the classroom as well."

Ellis called her a consistent player.

"She might not make a spectacular play every single day, but she's going to make all the routine plays and be a solid defensive player," the coach added. "She can hit for average and contribute any way she can with the team. I think this will be a good fit for her."

Bradford plans to major in Special Education.