Versatility was one of the strongest traits that Laynie Hudgins has provided for the McDowell Lady Titans softball team, especially last season.
Those same traits will be put to good use in the future as Hudgins officially signed with Lees McRae College on Monday.
Hudgins, an upcoming two-year varsity member of the Lady Titans, will be joining the Bobcats softball program in the fall of 2019 and will be alongside her sister and 2018 McDowell graduate Lauren Hudgins, who is a current freshman on the roster.
Hudgins was also being recruited by a couple other programs, including Greensboro College, but in the end made the choice of joining up with her sibling on the Banner Elk campus.
“It’s cool to have my sister with me next year,” said Hudgins. “The coaching staff initially didn’t realize that we were related but once that connection was established they definitely showed their interest in having me as a part of the program.”
The Bobcats are getting a solid presence both at the plate and defensively. The ability to play multiple positions gives Hudgins an opportunity to possibly break into the lineup fairly quickly once she gets there.
But before all that happens, Hudgins is expected to play a significant role in McDowell’s success in the spring of 2019. While not receiving any conference or regional awards and recognition last year, Hudgins did some important things in the bottom half of the Lady Titans’ lineup. She finished with a .296 batting average as a junior with 16 hits and 13 runs scored. Her hit total placed seventh on last year’s squad, which went 16-9 and lost in the second round of the 4A State Playoffs to eventual runner-up South Caldwell. The expectation is for even more improvement as a senior.
“Laynie is a bit of a late bloomer in our program and she did some really good things for us last season,” said McDowell head coach Catriona Young. “She is a versatile player, having played both in the infield and outfield for us and regardless of position has been very good with the glove. She also provides a pretty big stick in the lineup, and she has the ability to get some big hits, and her speed on the basepaths really evolved last season. With all that she can bring to the table, Lees McRae will like what they are getting.”
The Bobcats, who posted an 11-9 record, good enough for fifth place in Conference of the Carolinas, will return just five upperclassmen this season.