A pair of former local All-State softball performers have made decisions about their immediate playing futures.
Haley Sandridge, a 2018 graduate of Ridgeland, will be transferring to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. after two highly successful seasons at Chipola College in Florida.
“The campus is really nice and I think it’s a good fit for me,” she explained. “I went on a visit and really connected with the coaches and the players. Their coaches played and coached Division I and pro softball and they connected with me on a different level. That really got me to sit down and commit to them.”
Sandridge, a shortstop, played in 88 games for Chipola over the last two seasons. She hit .462 with 26 doubles, 11 triples and eight home runs to go with 80 RBIs. She had a .562 on-base percentage and was 85-of-86 in career stolen base attempts.
Chipola went 52-5-1 in 2019 and won the program’s third NJCAA national championship. They were 28-4 and on a 12-game winning streak when the 2020 season was cut short in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sandridge was a two-time All-State player at Ridgeland. She helped the Lady Panthers to the Elite Eight as a junior and helped Ridgeland win the Region 6-AAAA regular season championship in her senior season.
She batted .477 in her final two seasons of high school with 42 extra-base hits and 43 RBIs.
Sandridge, who is studying in the medical field, added that she was going to try and bring the same qualities to ERAU that she brought to Chipola.
“I’m going to try and be a leader again,” she added. “I just want to keep getting better and improve myself every game.”
ERAU is an NCAA Division II member that plays in the Sunshine State Conference.
Meanwhile, former Heritage Generals’ first baseman Katie Proctor will be back on the diamond next season at Valdosta State University.
“I just started to miss playing sports and playing softball,” explained Proctor, who spent last year as a student at Kennesaw State University. “I just wanted to get back into it and I talked to (Heritage) Coach (Tanner) Moore to see if he could help me get linked up to Valdosta State and it just kind of fell in place.”
Proctor was a first-team All-Region selection as a junior at Heritage when she batted .400 with eight doubles, one triple, six home runs, 43 RBIs and 24 runs scored.
She was also a first-team All-Region pick as a senior and earned second-team All-State honors in her final year as she batted .412 with six doubles, one triple, three home runs, 26 RBIs and 25 runs scored with a .611 slugging percentage. She was a key member of a Heritage team that won its first-ever state softball championship in 2018.
Proctor believes she will serve primarily as a designated hitter in her first year with the Blazers, while working in some at first base. She will begin classes at Valdosta State as a sophomore, but will have four years of college eligibility remaining.
“I just hope to play whatever role they want me to do and just do my part,” she added. “I really don’t know what’s going to go on this first year, but I want to help in any way I can.”
Valdosta State won the NCAA Division II national championship in 2014 and the Blazers have advanced to the NCAA South Regional tournament every year since, except for this past season, which was cancelled before postseason play began.