Baileigh Pitts signs with Georgia Southern

Jason, Kerri and Ashlyn Pitts were among those on hand at Ringgold High School this past Wednesday to celebrate with senior Baileigh Pitts as she signed to play softball at Georgia Southern University.

More than a year after making her verbal commitment, Ringgold senior Baileigh Pitts made it official last week by signing her letter of intent to continue her softball career at Georgia Southern University.

"If I'm being honest, it really doesn't feel real," Pitts said with a smile. "This is been a dream of mine since I was little, playing softball at the next level. Now that it's finally happening, it almost feels fake."

Pitts was a nightmare for opposing pitchers the past four seasons, especially in 2021 when she was named Region 6-AAA Player of the Year after batting .505 with 10 doubles, three triples and four homeruns to go with 30 runs scored and 32 RBIs.

A key component of the Lady Tigers' back-to-back Class AAA state championship teams in 2019 and 2020, Pitts had a career .418 batting average to go with 45 doubles, 12 triples and 19 homeruns. She scored 108 runs and drove in 121 with an on-base percentage of .496 and a slugging percentage of .708.

She was first team All-Region all four years at Ringgold and was first team All-State in 2019 and 2020. The 2021 All-State teams have yet to be announced.

Pitts played both third base and at catcher while at Ringgold, but said she will be primarily behind the plate with the Golden Eagles.

"She was getting praised as a catcher coming up from the middle school from people that know the game and she didn't disappoint," Ringgold head coach Daniel Hackett said. "Just knowing what kind of power, what kind of leadership she brings to the game...it just means a lot to a program.

"She's just been a blessing to have and I hope the coaches at the next level know the same thing."

Pitts said the Statesboro campus felt "like home".

"I love the small-town feel," she continued. "The campus feels like it does here in Ringgold. It's not too far from home and it's not too close (to home) and it's only about an hour away from the beach."

She said that she hoped to bring a strong bat to Georgia Southern and that she planned to prove that she's an NCAA Division I level type of player.

"Coming in as a freshman, you're really looked upon as kind of an underdog," she said. "You kind of have to prove that you belong there, but I believe that's going to be my strength at Georgia Southern."

The Golden Eagles are members of the Sun Belt Conference, along with the likes of Georgia State, Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, South Alabama, and several other schools in Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas.

"She could play just about anywhere," Hackett explained. "But even if she's behind another catcher when she gets there, that's the luxury you have in her. You can put her anywhere (in the field) and you definitely have a top five or six hitter at the college level. She's also got a little bit of speed too. She batted some (leadoff) for us because she got on base so many times."

Pitts said she plans to study mechanical engineering and minor in graphic arts.

Scott Herpst is sports editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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