“She’s a strong all-around player. She’s probably one of the best third baseman in the state because she’s fearless in that position,” said North Stokes softball coach Jeff Frye when describing senior Carson Watkins.
Watkins signed a letter of intent on Friday to play at Pfeiffer University.
As a four-year varsity player the athlete has used her experience playing on travel teams to help keep the Lady Vikings ranked as a top 1A contender.
“I play pretty much year-round. If I didn’t, I don’t think I’d be able to play at the college level,” she said. “It’s been a good experience to be part of different teams.”
When Watkins is on the field she’s focused and has only one thing on her mind.
“I’m always thinking about the next out and what I can do to keep my team from losing,” she said.
That drive mixed with a lot of moxie, has kept her on the field when other players would have come out.
“One time she got a hard shot and it popped up and hit her in the face,” Frye said. “She had a face mask on, but it was knocked off. She didn’t miss a beat and still made the play. To me that’s true focus.”
Another moment Watkins won’t soon forget came as a sophomore in the state championship series when she rolled her ankle in the last game. Minute’s earlier shortstop Chandley Garner was injured and carried off the field. Knowing her team couldn’t lose two infield starters, she stayed in to spite the pain.
“They taped up my foot best they could but I could barely move. It was really emotional. I was in so much pain, but I wasn’t coming off the field.”
North went on to clinch the championship and Watkins ankle stay discolored for weeks after the win.
The athlete has made sacrifices over the years for softball, but said looking back it’s been worth it.
“My dad made me get up early mornings and go practice when I didn’t want to. Now, I’m very thankful for it. I appreciate my parents pushing me,” she said.
Her mother and father, Dawn and Todd, have enjoyed watching their only child through the fence over the years and sharing in her triumphs.
“Carson’s never really been a power hitter and one of her goals this season was to hit one over,” her father said. “We watched her do that against Mount Airy this year and it was a great feeling seeing her round first.”
The two are pleased with her choice in Pfeiffer and believe she’ll continue to make an impact wherever she goes. Watkins mother added, “We want her to grow as an
individual, to step out and meet new people and try new things. We think she’ll do a great job.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.