Coastal Georgia’s softball team announced the signing of its six new players on Thursday.
After coming off the team’s first ever regular season conference title, the Mariners have tried to capitalize that same success on the recruiting trail.
Softball coach Mike Minick likes the makeup of this group after losing some key seniors.
“It’s a good one,” Minick said. “We lost three players from last year’s team, but with the ones we’ve added to go with our returning players, we think we can have another good season this coming year.”
The six players that signed on Thursday are Bailey Harrison, Malarie Peacock, Melani Jones, Samantha Hiley, Julianna Bellflower and Gabriella Merced.
Bellflower, Hiley, and Merced are all transferring from other colleges while the other three are coming to Coastal out of high school.
Merced is a sophomore right-handed pitcher that transferred from Bryan College in Kennesaw, Ga. She played high school softball at North Cobb Christian and lettered three years.
While in high school she won coaches award as a sophomore and Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. Merced shares the North Cobb Christian school record for most strikeouts in a game with 16.
“She missed the fall last year at Bryan with an injury and wasn’t cleared to play until February,” Minick said in a statement. “She did pretty well in the innings that she threw and had a pretty good season for them.”
Bellflower transferred from Shorter University in Eastman where she played infield. She played high school softball and soccer at Dodge County as she lettered all four years in both sports. Bellflower was the 2017 State AA Player of the Year and Region Co-Player of the Year.
She was also a two-time All-State pick, two-time all-region selection and helped her team reach the state semifinals three times in four years.
“She can play second, third or shortstop,” Minick said about Bellflower. “She was an all-state player in high school, playing for her mom. She’s a competitor, and we think she can come in and help us.”
Hiley is the final transfer signee and is coming to Coastal from Edward Waters College in Hudson, Fla.
She was a utility player there and was named Softball Rookie of the Year her freshman season.
Hiley played high school softball at Wiregrass High school, lettering all four years. She was also the team MVP and received the Captain Award.
“She hits with tremendous power, and her power bat is what we think will help us,” Minick said of Hiley’s ability to hit.
Jones is a freshman catcher and outfield player that’s heading to Coastal from Astronaut High School in Titusville, Fla. She lettered two years in volleyball and all four years in softball while leading her team to a district championship.
“She is a very good catcher. She’s fast and athletic,” Minick said. “She’s a very good hitter, always makes contact and she has a very good swing. She played high-level travel ball in Florida and played against really good competition.”
Peacock is another player that can play outfield or at the catcher position coming from Appling County High School in Baxley, Ga. She was a two-time All-Region selection, a two-time All-State pick, the 912 Sports Student-Athlete of the Year for the 2018-19 season, graduated with honors, helped her team to a 2017 Region 2-3A title, and helped the team to three Sweet 16 and one Elite 8 appearances.
“She’s a corner outfielder who has a very good bat and hits with power,” Minick said. “Her sister (Bryce) is going to be a senior this year and is already committed to us for 2020. We’re excited about that as well.”
Harrison is an incoming freshman utility player that played at Long County High School in Ludowici, Ga. She was a four-year team captain and a four-time first-team All-Region selection.
As a freshman and junior, Harrison won Region 2-3A Utility Player of the Year. Then as a sophomore and senior, she won Region Catcher of the Year.
Harrison led her team in batting all four years and was named Offensive Player of the Year three times and won Team MVP as a senior.
“She’s a very good outfielder and can also play several infield positions and can catch,” Minick said. “She spends a lot of time working on her game and spends a lot of time with her hitting coach.
“She’s a very good hitter and just a good all-around player. She’s been to our camp since her freshman year of high school and was the first player to commit to us in this class. We’re real excited to have her.”
Minick also said that Coastal might sign a couple more players in the coming days.