Liberty County High School student-athlete Charlee Coursey signed a letter of intent Monday to play softball at East Georgia College.
Coursey played softball and basketball at LCHS, but the catcher said softball is the sport she loves and EGC is the right place to start her college career.
“I’m very excited and kind of nervous, but most of all excited and happy,” she said. “I wanted to play softball after high school, and I wanted to go to a small school so it would be an easier start and I could get used to the college life.”
She said EGC, a two-year school in Swainsboro, is close to home and should make her transition to the next level easier.
Coursey will join former Panther softball player Stephanie Cedola and former Panther baseball players Justin Eaton and Aaron Hoffer at the campus. Cedola joined the Bobcats’ softball program last season. Eaton and Hoffer play baseball at EGC.
“So it’s not a big jump from high school … and I’m happy that I’m going to know somebody,” she said.
Coursey said the EGC softball coach, Jordyn Nail, told her she has a good arm and she should make an immediate impact on the team as a catcher or third baseman.
Lady Panthers softball coach Jerome Standard said he had little doubt Coursey would play at the next level.
“We coached her all along with those thoughts in mind. I think we’ve always known that she had the capability to move up a level above high school, and I think this is going to be a good fit for her,” he said.
“She is a workhorse, so she is going to be fine wherever she goes. I do think she will be doing more catching than third base because of her skill level.”
The coach said Coursey has a strong arm, blocks the ball well and works well with the pitchers. He said he advised his senior to work on her plate appearances.
“I think that is the biggest thing she is going to work on and I think she knows that,” he said. “She knows where she is at and what she needs to do to move to that next level.”
Family members were happy for Coursey.
“It’s fabulous and I’ve been waiting 12 years for it,” said her father, Douglas Coursey.
He said he is happy the campus is close by and his daughter will have opportunities to come home on weekends when she needs to.
“It’s going to be hard to see her go. (But) I like it because it is a smaller college and everything is in walking distance and she knows some people up there,” he said. “She likes the coach and the coach likes her.”
Coursey’s grandmother, Andrea McGinley, said her granddaughter was about 4 when she first played Tee-ball.
“I think this is the best day in the world,” McGinley said. “It’s great; I’ve got five grandkids and she is my baby. And I’m just so happy. She’ll be the second one to attend college.
“All she talks about is coming back home on the weekends, and I told her you might get lucky and come home some weekends … But I’m happy she is not going too far away from home and we can keep in contact.”
McGinley said she told her granddaughter to stick to her studies and reminded her she was going to school for a purpose. She said she has no doubt her granddaughter will make friends and blend in with her new surroundings.
Coursey’s aunt, Cissy Woods, said she’s glad her niece is able to continue to play a sport she loves.
“It’s wonderful that she is going to further her opportunity,” Woods said. “She has always loved it (softball).”
Coursey said she plans to get ready for college softball as soon as high school is over.
“I’m going to start playing a lot more travel ball and working out more on the weekends when I’m not at school,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to playing softball. It’s pretty cool to be going to college and play. That’s what I always wanted to do.”
Coursey said she will take all her core course at EGC and move up to a four-year school to play softball and study veterinary medicine.