Rutledge signs softball scholarship

Chapel Hill’s Hallie Rutledge (front row, center) put ink to paper on Nov. 12 to play softball at Mississippi College. She is flanked by her father Steve and her mother Leslie Rutledge. Filling at the back row, from left to right, are CHHS principal Sean Kelly, hitting instructor Amanda Paz, CHHS assistant coach Bobby Nail, CHHS head coach Mick Harper, EC Bullets travel ball coach Scott Council, and CHHS athletic director Jennifer Baggett.

Rick Winters / Douglas County Sentinel

Chapel Hill first baseman Hallie Rutledge signed her Letter of Intent on Nov. 12 to play softball at Mississippi College. Rutledge did not spend a lot of time browsing other schools, making up her mind quickly to become a member of the Choctaws.

“When I visited the college they treated me like family and it just felt like home,” Rutledge said. “It is a Christian college when made my choice less difficult and it has my major of Interior Design.”

Rutledge was on the verge of getting an offer from Reinhardt University and had also drawn interest from Berry, but she had her mind made up to go to Clinton, Mississippi.

Mississippi College is coached by Brooke O’Hair. O’Hair enters her eighth season at the helm of the Lady Choctaws program. Her team suffered several injuries throughout the 2013 season, finishing 8-31 overall and 6-18 in the American Southwest Conference. Four Lady Choctaws earned All-ASC honors, including Second Team All-ASC honoree Erica Johns.

The 2012 season saw the Lady Choctaws finish 26-14 overall and 13-11 in the American Southwest Conference. Six different Lady Choctaws were named to the All-ASC East Team, led by Courtney Nunn who was named ASC East Pitcher of the Year.

As a standout at Mississippi State, O’Hair earned SEC All-academic honors all four years while also starting all four years for the Lady Bulldogs. She was a part of the winningest class of players ever to play at Mississippi State reaching the SEC Tournament four times. The Lady Bulldogs also reached an NCAA Regional in three seasons.

After completing her playing career, O’Hair spent one year as student assistant (2004) in which Mississippi State again reached the SEC Tournament and an NCAA Regional.

Rutledge, a standout first baseman for Chapel Hill, is expected to play right away but will have big shoes to fill. She will be replacing a four year starter and All-American. Rutledge’s high school coach has all the faith in her.

“I expect her to contribute early in college said CHHS coach Mick Harper. “She brought offensive stability to our team and has been a really good leader. She has improved each year and I expect her to continue to improve. She works hard and has a great desire for the game and that is the legacy she leaves this school.”

Rutledge is coming off a great senior year. She was third on the Chapel Hill team with a .461 batting average. She had a .533 on-base percentage and a .784 slugging percentage. Rutledge tied for second in the county with six home runs. She had 20 extra base hits, knocked in 52 runs, and scored 24 times. She also walked 15 times.

“Chapel Hill means a lot because everyone knows we are family,” Rutledge said. “The school has had a big impact on me and Coach Harper has helped me a lot. I will miss everyone.”

Rutledge plans on becoming an interior designer, which could potentially lead into architecture. She will join Mississippi College in the fall of 2015.

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