McDowell High School’s varsity softball team has been very busy in the early days of the fall signing period getting a number of its players secured for the future.
First baseman and pitcher Emma Banks became the fourth Lady Titan to ink a deal, signing with Division III Emory and Henry College on Tuesday morning.
Banks, along with fellow seniors Dezi Williams (USC Upstate), Nicole Gallion (Greensboro) and Laynie Hudgins (Lees McRae) rounds out what has been a busy signing period for Coach Catriona Young’s program.
Banks will be part of the McDowell fast-pitch program for the second year next spring after transferring in from Iredell County. Last season, the power-hitting right-handed hitter gave the Lady Titans their biggest long-ball threat in what was a balanced lineup, but she also provided a consistent approach at the plate, batting .315 last year, belting a team-high three home runs and driving in 14 runs.
Banks also had limited use as a pitcher, tossing just over 10 innings last season. With McDowell having lost a part of its pitching depth from 2018 Banks will likely be looked upon for more innings on the mound as a senior.
But one of the most important aspects of Banks’ junior year and the success the Lady Titans as a whole was how she adapted to the program quickly and became an integral piece. Banks’ coach said she would be an even bigger piece to the puzzle in 2019.
“Emma has been such a positive impact to our team,” said Young. “She came in last year not expecting a whole lot from us, being a new kid on the block, but she came in and was a slugger. She can play some really good first base but she provided power and pushed across runs in the lineup. I’m really proud of what all she has accomplished both for the team and on a personal level and she is very deserving of playing at the next level.”
Banks admitted that the process of choosing the Wasps softball program has been lengthy, but in the end it all paid off for the senior.
“Not many schools were really going after me and I just kept working to get better and playing as much as I can, whether it be during the high school season or in travel ball,” said Banks. “It wasn’t until the past year where Emory and Henry approached me and starting following me some and I just felt like it was the perfect fit when they showed the interest in having me join the program.
“The school has a really positive atmosphere and it was a good vibe, so I felt that it was the best decision to make.”
Emory and Henry had a 31-14 record last season with a 9-9 mark in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.