Kiri Parker of St. James always had a feeling she could play softball on the college level.
Still, there were some doubts.
“I always felt like I could play,” Parker said. “I wasn’t sure of myself. I was always second-guessing myself so I just worked harder until I got it.”
What she got was a chance to play in the Southwestern Athletic Conference after signing a scholarship with Alcorn State on Friday in the school’s library in Vacherie.
Alcorn, St. James softball coach Benton Ford said, will be getting a player capable of helping the team in a number of different positions.
“They are getting phenomenal athlete, whether she’s a pitcher or outfielder,” Ford said. “She’s been willing to play pitcher, outfield, first base, wherever we need her. She’s very versatile. She can hit the ball and has great speed. I think Alcorn is getting a tremendous asset to their team.
“I think they will maybe try her in the outfield but I could see her pitching at Alcorn. She has all five pitches. I think if she can get a little more speed, I think she will be a force to be reckoned with on that level.”
That would suit Parker just fine.
“I’m signing as a pitcher but I’m open to playing other positions; just wherever they need me to play,” said Parker.
Through 25 games this season, Parker, a returning all-state performer, has pitched 106 innings with 120 strikeouts. As a hitter, she is batting .527 with seven home runs and 23 runs batted in.
As a junior, Parker was 17-12 as a pitcher with a 3.39 earned run average while striking out 189 batters in 182 innings. She hit for a .506 average with 11 home runs and drove in 52 runs a year ago.
Alcorn has won its division each of the past two years going into this season.
“They always compete. It’s a good program,” said Parker.
Along with a successful program, Alcorn also has a down-home appeal, according to Parker.
“It just felt like a home away from home. I went visit there and it was like second nature. It was just like here but just in another place,” Parker said.