Northside’s Watts signs with Shelton State


SAMANTHA | Karley Watts likes green as a favorite color, but it wasn’t her main reason for picking a college.

Watts, a senior at Northside High School, signed Friday to play softball for Shelton State Community College. The Lady Bucs wear green, but Watts weighed other factors.

"I really am excited," Watts said. "It’s a huge relief, knowing I’ll be going to play college softball. It’s going to make my senior year even more fun.

"I’m so excited about going to Shelton. I’m just so blessed to have the opportunity to play there. I went to Coach (Buddy) Boyle’s camps and really liked their program. It’s one of the top programs in the state, and it’s close. It’s the best decision for me."

Watts joined the Northside varsity as a freshman. She earned honorable mention on the AHSAA Class 3A All-State team as an outfielder in 2011. She was a starting catcher last season and expects to be a catcher at Shelton State.

"I started playing softball when I was 8," she said. "I was kind of born into it. I had a brother (Drew) who played baseball, and my dad (Kevin) was a big baseball fan. At first I became a pitcher, and I got so frustrated that the catchers could not catch. It would just hit their glove and go out, so I told dad, ‘I’m going to be a catcher.’ Ever since I was about 11, I became a catcher. I started practicing and going to camps. Now I’m signing with Shelton to become a catcher.

"I can just worry about having fun and doing the job instead of having to impress. I just have to make sure I do the right things at the right time. Having to work with all the different coaches and players has really put me in the position I’m in. I would love to thank each and every one of them for helping me in getting this."

Northside coach Tommy Honeycutt said Watts will break the school record for career RBIs. She hit .391 last season and drove in 48 runs.

"In coaching, you learn to enjoy the moments you have," Honeycutt said. "I’ve enjoyed every moment I’ve had with Karley and look forward to the moments we’re going to have this year. Ever since she started playing for me, she’s been a tremendous leader, a girl that’s well-liked and well-motivated. She works hard, and she’s going to do the right things to make herself successful at the next level as she’s done at the high school level."

Honeycutt said Watts can handle the burdens of being a catcher, a cleanup hitter and a mentor to her younger teammates.

"If it wasn’t her, I’d worry," Honeycutt said. "Since it’s Karley, I know what to expect. I know it’s all going to be good from her. She fits that mold. She’s a leader. She’s taken other kids under her wing and showed them the ropes. She’s been doing that for a while. She’s been playing ever since she was little bitty, and she’s been playing travel ball and school ball. She’s succeeded at every one of those levels. I expect the same thing to happen at Shelton next year."

 

Reach Andrew Carroll at andrew.carroll@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0223.