- Last Updated on 12:00 PM 03/26/12
- BY Doug Ford
Kelsey White, a senior member of the Halifax County High School varsity softball team, announced her intentions Sunday to play softball at Bluefield College.
Bluefield College, a liberal arts college located in Bluefield, Virginia, is a charter member of the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) and a Division II member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
It recently became the 18th member of the Mid-South Conference (MSC), ad Division I member of the NAIA, and all 15 of its intercollegiate sports teams will begin play in that league in the fall of 2012.
Kristen Walker is in her first year as head coach of the Rams softball team.
White, in her second year as a varsity softball player, said she made a choice between four schools, Bluefield College, Virginia Wesleyan, Southern Wesleyan (S.C.) and UNC-Wilmington.
“I chose Bluefield because of their forensic science department,” said White, who has visited the campus multiple times.
White said she is comfortable with the coaching staff and the softball program at Bluefield, which is stepping up to Division I competition.
The rich tradition of softball in Halifax County, in addition to playing travel softball with Diamond Fever, has helped prepare her for college-level softball, White explained.
Walker said White is exactly the type of player she’s looking for, a player who is willing and able to play multiple positions.
“She’s got a bat on her, and she also is a utility player I feel safe putting about anywhere on the field,” said Walker.
“I’ve seen her play about every position on the field, and that’s exactly something we need next year.
“Right now, I’ll have her at first or third, but that can definitely change, because she’s such a diverse player.”
The Bluefield College softball program is evolving, explained Walker, with big changes on the horizon.
“I’m the first full time softball coach the school has seen, and we’re starting a fall season now, which has never happened before,” she said.
“We’re making it more full-time for the players as well, so we’re changing the face of softball completely at Bluefield College.”
Halifax County Head Softball Coach Melanie Saunders agree White would be a good fit at Bluefield, and her signing with Bluefield demonstrates the depth and strength of softball in Halifax County.
“A lot of people just don’t know of the talent we have here,” said Saunders.
“By making it to the state tournament, people recognize you have a good ball club with people capable of playing on the college level.
“Just getting to that point has allowed colleges to realize where Halifax County really is.”
“Kelsey is very versatile, we can work her at catcher or infield, and if need be we can put her in the outfield, and Bluefield is probably going to do that same thing,” added Saunders.
“To have such a good athlete who’s also versatile is an awesome thing to have for a team, high school or college.
“She’s willing to play, willing to learn and that’s awesome.
“Kelsey is definitely willing to learn and do whatever it takes for the team and not herself.
“That’s always what makes the athlete a better person and athlete, to do it for the team and not themselves.”