Fresh off winning her second-consecutive Region 3-AA Player of the Year award and leading the 32-8 Lady Bulldogs to a runner-up finish at the Georgia High School Association Class AA state softball tournament, Stokes officially decided to remain in the area as she signed her National Letter of Intent to play for Georgia Regents.
“Georgia Regents was always my first pick,” said Stokes, who verbally committed to the Lady Jaguars before her senior season. “I did look at a couple of other schools, but Georgia Regents was always in my heart.”
Harlem coach Mike Leverett knows the Lady Jaguars are picking up a player he will sorely miss.
“She was probably a lifetime .480 hitter and led the team in all categories this year so you know it’s going to be tough to replace her,” Leverett said of his captain. “She meant a whole lot to this team.”
In her final season with the Lady Bulldogs, Stokes batted .457 with five home runs, five triples, 15 doubles and drove in 42 runs while scoring 56 times.
Despite the gaudy numbers, Stokes knows she will have to work hard from day one to prove she deserves to play at the next level.
“Well, for the first few years here, I had to fly under the radar because we had some big hitters as seniors, but I think I can do that again,” said Stokes, adding that mental toughness was going to be the key to her continued success. “I’m so used to starting that if I don’t start I just have to say ‘hey I’m going to get my chance and I have to produce.’”
LAKESIDE: Bryant McIlwain signed his letter of intent to play lacrosse for Division II Young Harris College in Young Harris, Georgia.
Playing offensive and defensive middie the past two years, the Panthers’ team captain will join a Mountain Lions’ program in its second year as an intercollegiate program.
CROSS CREEK: Softball player Baylee Hall signed with Georgia College and State. The senior infielder was a member of the Region 3-AAAA North All-Region team.
Staff writer Wayne Staats contributed to this article.