By Kyle Sutherland
It has been a successful couple of weeks for the University of Arkansas softball team on the recruiting trail, earning five commitments for the Class of 2024 - one of those being homegrown Arkansan Ava Carter. The Greene County Tech outfielder was offered by Hogs head coach Courtney Deifel’s staff on September 15 and she made her official pledge on October 1.
“Everything about them was just home,” Carter said. “I felt that right when I got there and met them, they made me feel like family. Coach Deifel is just an amazing person, (along with) Coach (Matt) Muechel and Coach Yo (McRae).”
The genuine relationship between the coaching staff and Carter was built throughout two years of her attending camps in Fayetteville, and she learned over that time it was where she wanted to be.
“They just make you feel included in everything,” Carter added “When you see them, they give you a hug and I just love that.”
With two seasons left to play in high school, Carter gives a great deal of credit to her current head coach David Reynolds, along with her GCT teammates, for her development and making it to this point.
“Coach Reynolds is an amazing coach who knows how to win and he loves to win,” Carter said. “We have girls on our team who always want to win and we are really sore losers. He knows how to get us to use that in a good way instead of letting it get to us.
“He has helped me a lot with my mental game. When I do lose he always tells me what I need to do, like I need to work out afterwards and not be sulking and stuff. Our team has insane talent, so when we play well it is an amazing environment to be around.”
There are currently seven native Arkansans on the Razorback softball roster, including junior third baseman Hannah Gammill who is coming off an all-American campaign. Bentonville’s Kasey Wood and Paris’ Jayden Wells of the 2023 class will get a head start on the experience of Bogle Park and Carter is thrilled to join them at the conclusion of her high school career.
“The thought of when I do get there that I will have my entire family there because we are only four hours away and that is not long at all,” Carter said. “(It is great) knowing that all of these Arkansas families get to come and watch other Arkansas families see their kids play and we get to play together to represent the towns we came from.”
Carter had a highly successful campaign as a sophomore helping the Lady Eagles to a 27-5-1 record and state runner-up finish. She batted .536 with a .643 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .821 while smacking 2 home runs. She also had 33 runs batted in and 25 stolen bases.