March 6, 2014

Northwest's Godfrey, Souther sign with Cleveland (Tenn.) State

TUNNEL HILL — Hannah Godfrey and Mallory Souther won enough games and championships at Northwest Whitfield to make most high school softball players jealous.

That reputation for success is just one asset the pair of Lady Bruins will take to Tennessee’s Cleveland State Community College next season.

The senior duo signed athletic scholarships with Cleveland State on Tuesday and celebrated the occasion at Northwest. Both will receive close to full scholarships to the two-year junior college.

For both, remaining teammates with at least one of their fellow Lady Bruins was important. Godfrey and Souther — along with seniors Ashley Conner, Bayli Cruse, Colbie Thomas and Macy Weeks — were part of Northwest’s 2012 and 2013 Class 4A state championships teams and the 2011 and 2012 Region 7-4A title squads.

“I’m more excited now because I have someone to go with me,” Godfrey said. “We know what we’ve accomplished and we’re taking it with us.”

Souther said she’s fortunate to begin the new chapter of her life with the security of having a close friend alongside her.

“I’m glad I’m going with someone I know and I’ve played with before,” said Souther, who also played basketball for the Lady Bruins. “That makes me really happy.”

Godfrey, a second baseman this past season and a right fielder in 2012, brings the ability to play many positions. Souther, a first baseman and third baseman this past season, offers the same value.

“They can both play outfield, middle infield and the corner infield spots,” said Northwest coach Jason Brooker, who led the Lady Bruins to a state title each of his first two seasons in charge. “They’re quiet but they get the job done and contribute to help the team.”

Godfrey, a three-time member of The Daily Citizen’s All-Area Softball Team, sported a .350 batting average and .407 slugging percentage with 13 stolen bases for the 2013 Lady Bruins. Souther, an all-area selection as a junior and honorable mention this past season, had 22 RBIs in 2013 but sported 24 RBIs and 17 extra-base hits during her 2012 season.

“Mallory is overall defensively one of the better players I’ve seen,” Brooker said. “She has a great arm, good range, has some potential to hit home runs, and with her attitude, I never could tell if she was down or up. ... Hannah, with her athleticism and being able to play outfield or infield, is special. And her speed and being able to bat from the left side is an advantage on offense.”

The pair believe that versatility will be an advantage as they work to earn spots on the field with the Lady Cougars, who are 2-12 so far this season. Cleveland State, a member of the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association, went 16-25 in 2013.

“You don’t have to worry about just playing one position,” Souther said. “They know we can play anywhere.”

Both players also gave similar reasons — size and location — for choosing Cleveland State. Godfrey said she will commute from home each day and Souther said she’ll live in Cleveland but likes being just a short drive from home.

“When I visited, I just went to look,” Godfrey said. “I fell in love with it because it’s a small school.”

They also look forward to playing for Cleveland State coach Katie Willingham. They said she is known for making college softball enjoyable.

“You don’t dread going to practice every day,” Souther said.

If they keep performing like they did for the Lady Bruins, then Cleveland State won’t mind having the pair around every day, either.

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