SOFTBALL — Union softball team has three players sign JUCO scholarships

Union softball players, from left, (front) Anna Rigdon, Mackenzie Dolan and Lilly Burton signed scholarships with East Mississippi, Hinds and EMCC, respectively. They are pictured with coaches (back) Jacob Casey and Dustin Hamrick. (Brent Maze/The Appeal)
Union softball coach Jacob Casey knew he had a special bunch of seventh graders when he first came to Union.

Now, six years later, three players out of that group have signed to play junior college softball and a fourth member has been offered but has not decided where she will go.

Last week, Mackenzie Dolan and Lilly Burton signed to play at East Mississippi Community College while Anna Rigdon signed to pitch at Hinds.

“I’m proud of them,” Casey said. “We had three to sign and that’s special for a school our size and we’ve got one more that didn’t sign today that will probably sign at some point. It’s a good group. I knew as seventh graders that it was a good group. They have worked hard over the course of six years and it has paid off for them. They have always been good friends and that’s a testament to our team chemistry. They are a good group of girls and I’ve enjoyed being around them.”

Pictured are Mackenzie Dolan, center, and her parents, Gary (left) and Bethany (right) Dolan. (Brent Maze/The Appeal)

For Dolan, she signed with East Mississippi and will play catcher and third base. Dolan also had offers from East Central and Holmes. Dolan his .506 with 13 doubles, three triples and eight home runs while driving in 40 runs.

“I really like the coaches a lot,” Dolan said of EMCC. “The campus is not very big and it reminds me a lot of this. It was a good experience to go there. We went to a football game on a Thursday and that was fun. It just feels like home to me.”

Pictured are Lilly Burton, center, and her parents, Kim (left) and David (right) Burton. (Brent Maze/The Appeal)

She will be joined by Lilly Burton, who said she is listed as a utility player on EMCC’s board. As a junior, Burton hit .518 with 11 doubles and three triples while driving in 31 runs.

“I really loved the atmosphere,” Burton said. “It’s kind of a small college. It’s kind of like Union so I’m not going anywhere that’s too big. I’m not getting much out of my comfort zone. I really like the atmosphere and really liked the coaches. She was really relatable and I think she could do big things. It helps to have a teammate go there since I’m really shy so it helps that I will know someone there.”

Pictured are Anna Rigdon, center, and her parents, Barbara (left) and Dennis (right) Rigdon. (Brent Maze/The Appeal)

Pitcher Anna Rigdon is signing with Hinds Community College. Rigdon was 13-8 last year with a 3.28 ERA while striking out 94.

“I really like the turf field and the coaches seemed very caring,” Rigdon said. “I can play in the field but they recruited me as a pitcher. I think the coaches at Hinds will get me ready to play.”