Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 23, 2013

Russell ace ready for Rio Grande

Powell already has history with future teammates

MATT SPARKS
The Independent

RUSSELL — Russell pitcher Mallory Powell has left many batters seeing red on the softball field.

On Friday afternoon, Powell agreed to wear red after she signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Rio Grande RedStorm during a ceremony in the Russell High School library.

Chocolate cake was passed around as Powell also celebrated her 18th birthday with her parents, friends, teammates, teachers and Rio Grande head coach Kristen Bradshaw.

The talented right-handed hurler is excited about the next phase of her softball career.

“I am really looking forward to it,” Powell said. “I know most of the girls who play on the team up there and I really feel I can play with them.”

Over the summer, Powell played with several players who will be on the Rio Grande roster when she arrives on campus next year.

“We are really close,” Powell said. “I can’t wait to play with them. It’s going to be awesome.”

Powell caught the eye of Bradshaw during summer leagues.

“I saw her play a lot over the summer with the KC Diamonds,” Bradshaw said. “I think she is a great pitcher and can hit the ball too. She will be a big threat for us at the plate.”

Bradshaw, a Portsmouth, Ohio, native and a four-year letter winner at Wright State, liked the athletic ability of the 6-foot-2 Powell.

“She has so much potential,” Bradshaw said. “I am anxious to see what she can do for us.”

On her recruiting visit, Powell claimed that Rio Grande “felt like home.”

“When I visited the campus, it was so small and everybody knew each other,” Powell said. “I really bonded with Coach Bradshaw. She was awesome and she really took me under her wing.”

The senior plans on majoring in nursing.

Russell finished 17-15 this past season, which included two no-hit performances by Powell over rival Ashland.

Russell has won six straight 63rd District titles. Entering her final campaign, Powell feels her team is ready for that next step, which is winning a region championship.

“We have a lot of new girls that are really strong,” Powell said. “We can definitely get to the top if we really work hard.”

Rio Grande is coming off a 22-19 season. The NAIA school plays in the Mid-South Conference.