May 2, 2014

N. Murray’s Deal signs with Tennessee Temple

Ever since she was four years old, Kara Deal has been playing softball under the guidance of her mother Sherry.

And even though Sherry was a slow-pitch softball player in her day, she always knew her daughter had what it took to play college softball.

“My mom has coached me my whole life, and always my first hope was to get a scholarship and try to play somewhere after high school,” the North Murray senior said. “My mom played and she still thinks that she can hit it farther than me, but I don’t think she could catch up with a fastball these days. But she always showed faith in me.”

The faith paid off earlier this week as Deal signed a college scholarship to play softball at Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga. She becomes the third member of the Lady Mountaineers team heading off to play collegiately next year, joining teammates Sarah Silvers and Samantha Stafford.

Deal transferred to North Murray from Murray County after her freshman year and played behind the plate during her sophomore and junior years. During her senior season, Deal went to the pitcher’s rubber.

“When we graduated our pitcher after Kara’s junior year, I went to her and told her that she was going to have to pitch for us,” North Murray coach Steve Granger said. “She knew what it was to be back there behind the plate and that was great to have that on the field. She can play just about any position, and she did what she knew was best for the team by pitching.”

North Murray was 17-20 overall last year, falling in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs at Franklin County. At the plate, Deal was third on the team with a .356 batting average. She finished with six doubles and drove in 11 runs. On the mound, Deal was 9-9 with a 3.76 earned run average. She hopes to return to her more natural catcher’s spot in college.

Tennessee Temple finished this season with a 16-25 record under coach Randy Crawford. Deal joins former Dalton High standout Amanda Rector, who plays basketball and softball for the Lady Crusaders.

“Coach Crawford told me that I would probably be catching, and that is what I want to be doing straight out of the gate when I get there,” Deal said.

Deal was a standout for both the North Murray softball and basketball teams. She had an offer from Hiwassee College (Madisonville, Tenn.) to play basketball.

“I miss basketball already,” said Deal, who was a guard for the Lady Mountaineers. “I had the chance to play basketball in college, but softball has always been my primary sport.”

Granger said when Crawford contacted him looking to see if there were any players who hadn’t signed that he knew about, Deal was the first one on his list.

“We talked about how she can play anywhere and she can do just about everything,” Granger said. “Kara was indecisive and hadn’t had the kind of interest from other schools that I thought she deserved. I told coach Crawford she was a good girl all-around and would represent them well.”

Once Deal visited and met with the coach, she was sold.

“I had heard a little about the program and heard it was a good Christian school, and that drew me to it,” she said. “It is close to home and that plays a big part in it, too. I am going to be more focused on getting my education. That is the first and foremost thing I am going for.”

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