Highlanders’ Softball Ready For 2021 Season

It was March 10, 2020 when the Gordon State College softball team last stepped on to the field for a regular season game and the Highlanders rolled to a doubleheader sweep of Andrew College to run their winning streak to six games.

But that winning streak and the rest of the 2020 season would come to a halt three days later when the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread across the country.

So fast-forward approximately 11 months later and GSC will open the 2021 season this weekend with a trip down to Dothan, Ala., in the Visit Dothan Invitational.

It has been a challenging time for this 2021 edition of Highlander Softball, but everyone on this team is ready to get back to action.

“We are just trying to build off of our momentum from last season, which was cut short,” said GSC head coach Ally Hattermann. “We were just starting to reach our stride (in 2020), riding a six-game winning streak when the season ended.”

GSC was unable to play any fall scrimmages due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the team did get in practice time, intra-squad scrimmages and some new players in preparation for the upcoming 2021 season.

“Since the abbreviated 2020 season, we’ve added a very talented freshman class and our expectations for this spring have already exceeded last year’s,” said Hattermann, who is entering her 22nd year leading the Highlanders. “Every day this team steps on the field, they really appreciate it and I know we will definitely put a very good product on the field this spring.”

GSC will return right-hander pitcher Faith Hager (Conyers, Ga. / Heritage HS), a three-time Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association Pitcher-of-the-Week in 2020, who posted a 7-3 record with 62.2 innings pitched while striking out 76 with a 2.79 earned-run average.

Right-handed pitcher Natalie Song (Cataula, Ga. / Harris County HS) is also back for the Highlanders to add depth to the pitching staff.

Meanwhile, left-hander Bailey Odom (Danville, Ga. / Bleckley Co. HS), who also garnered GCAA Pitcher-of-the-Week honors last season, returns after recording a 2-2 mark with a 3.37 ERA in 35.1 innings of work. Odom also hit .333 with a home run.

Claire Williams (Conyers, Ga. / Heritage HS) is back behind the plate after hitting .229 with two homers, five RBI and six runners caught stealing in 2020.

GSC will also feature these returnees in 2021 as third baseman Jordyn Dobson (.333, one HR, 11 RBI) from McDonough, Ga. (Union Grove HS); shortstop Taylor McClendon (.429, .592 slugging percentage, six doubles, one triple, eight RBI and two stolen bases) from McDonough, Ga. (Ola HS); and second baseman Breanna Lee (.393, .679 slugging percentage, two HRs, four doubles and three triples) from Concord, Ga. (Pike Co. HS) are back.

“We know what it feels like to have the season and some careers end so abruptly that we are taking nothing for granted,” said Lee, a team tri-captain for 2021. “We are doing what it takes to be able to play.”

First baseman and team tri-captain Abby Foster (.297, eight RBI) from McDonough, Ga. (Ola HS) agrees with her teammate regarding the long time off and preparing for the upcoming season.

“We are just excited to have the opportunity to play,” Foster said. “We have been working hard and doing what we can to control the ‘controllables’ to make sure our season happens.”

The outfield will feature returning players in left fielder Makenzie English (.407, 10 RBI and seven stolen bases) from Williamson, Ga. (Pike Co. HS), who collected a GCAA Player-of-the-Week honors last season and is also a team tri-captain; center fielder Hailey Hooper (.333) from Monticello, Ga. (Piedmont Academy); right fielder Camden Steele (.263, one HR and two stolen bases) from Jackson, Ga. (Union Grove HS); and utility player Brandi Williams (.333, one stolen base) from Dawsonville, Ga. (Dawson County HS).

GSC is also excited to welcome these newcomers to Highlander Nation for the upcoming 2021 season:


Kaylee Phillips                 Fr.           RHP        Ringgold, Ga. (Ringgold HS)

Jadyn Thornton               Fr.           C             Ozark, Ala. (Ariton HS)

Alexys Buffington            Fr.           C             Brooks, Ga. (Whitewater HS)

Chandler Mitchell            Fr.           1B           Forsyth, Ga. (Locust Grove HS / Southern Union St. C.C.)

Catherine Barefield         Fr.           UT/IF     Cataula, Ga. (Harris County HS)

Kinsey Jones                  Fr.           SS           Aragon, Ga. (Rockmart HS)

Kylee Housman              Fr.           OF          Zebulon, Ga. Pike County HS)

Taylor Corley                  Fr.           OF          Warner Robins, Ga. (Warner Robins HS)

Rebecca Graham            Fr.           OF          Thomaston, Ga. (Upson-Lee HS)


GSC will open on the road for its first six games of the 2021 season before returning for the home-opener on February 25 in a 2 p.m. doubleheader with Southern Union State Community College (Ala.).