Sand Rock’s Foster, Hood sign JUCO softball scholarships

Sand Rock softball players EllaGrace Hood, sitting from left, and Jadyn Foster, sitting on the right, signed softball scholarships with Snead State and Wallace State respectively on Wednesday at the school gym. The duo is pictured with their softball teammates and coaches Josh Bates (sitting middle) and Keith Bates (standing far left). Photo by Shannon Fagan.

By Shannon Fagan, WEIS Sports Director

SAND ROCK – Josh Bates has coached softball for 15 years at Sand Rock. He’s had players sign scholarships before, but never two on the same day, much less two pitchers.

That is until now.

Jadyn Foster and EllaGrace Hood signed with Wallace State and Snead State respectively on Wednesday. Both players have started on varsity since the seventh grade.

Last season for the Lady Wildcats (26-25), Foster batted .481 with 22 doubles, 15 home runs, four triples, 11 walks, 66 runs and 63 RBIs. She was also 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts. In the circle last season she was 12-13 with 132 strikeouts and a 3.34 ERA.

Hood had an 11-9 record in the circle with a 3.09 ERA and 165 strikeouts. She also batted .540 with 16 doubles, eight home runs, two triples, 42 runs and 74 RBIs.

“It’s just a testament to how hard they’ve worked, the time they’ve put in and their parents have put in,” Bates said. “They’ve both played very big roles in us getting to the state tournament, the region tournament, area championships, different things. They’ve both been big contributors to our program, not only pitching but also with their bats. Their hitting stats are just top notch. It’s going to be hard to see them go.”

Both Foster and Hood said signing to play at the next level is surreal for them. They both also said it’s fitting they signed their scholarships together.

“I think it’s awesome,” Foster said. “Both of us have worked so hard for so long. I think we both deserve it. We both support each other.”

Added Hood: “Me and Jadyn have played together since we were little. We’ve always been best friends. We’ve always been kind of competitive with each other. We really help each other, push each other and everything, so I think it is special we get to do this together.”

While both players are used to playing inside the pitching circle, only Hood is expected to continue pitching. Foster said Wallace intends to play her in the middle infield.

That’s just fine with her, she said.

“Hitting is my favorite thing to do,” Foster said. “That’s what I work the most at.”

Hood also hopes she gets to continue swinging the bat at Snead.

“I asked if pitchers hit because I love hitting,” she said. “(Snead State coach Tracy Grindrod) said if you’re one of the best nine hitters, then you’ll be in the lineup. We’ll find a spot for you in the field.”

With Foster and Hood being teammates for so long at Sand Rock, it will be different when they face each other on opposing teams in the near future.

Not just for them, but for Bates as well.

“We’ll have to circle that game between Wallace and Snead when they play each other,” Bates said. “I know it’s going to be different for them to face each other. I know they’ve probably played against each other in some travel ball, but when you’re facing your teammate you’ve had for all these years in high school and you’re playing at the college level and having to face each other, that’ll be something that’s going to be different for them.

“Wallace is always in the hunt for the (National Junior College Athletic Association) championship every year and Snead’s program is phenomenal too. They battle each other a lot to see who gets there. I think both coaches are getting two phenomenal players. I’m excited to see what they can do at the next level and watch them grow. Hopefully after two years they’ll get the chance to go on and play two more.”

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