ROCKINGHAM — For the second time in less than a week, a Richmond Senior High School softball player verbally committed to the college level.
Makayla Parks, a senior infielder and pitcher, cemented her future last Saturday following a visit to Pfeiffer University.
A week prior, fellow senior and battery mate Macy Steen committed to Coker University. Parks’ decision made her the third Richmond student-athlete this school year to commit (Camron Seagraves, Campbell University baseball).
“Proud to announce that I will be continuing my academic and athletic career at Pfeiffer University,” Parks wrote. “Thanks to my family and coaches along the way. I truly couldn’t have done it without you.”
Parks will follow in the footsteps of Taylor Parrish, a 2019 Richmond graduate, who is a senior pitcher for the Falcons.
While she’s always wanted to be able to play at the next level, Parks said her decision was primarily based on her future classroom and real world experiences.
“Academics is what’s most important to me and softball is the cherry on top,” Parks explained. “I looked at Pfeiffer academically first and knew I wanted to be a part of their occupational therapy program.
“I’m also very excited to be able to play softball,” she added. “I met Coach (Monte) Sherrill and we really clicked. Playing college softball has always been the goal, and I’m thankful for the opportunity.”
Known for her quick bat and power at the plate, Parks was recruited by Pfeiffer as a utility player. She said she understands going in that she’ll have to “work for my position.”
This past summer, Parks played a lot of travel softball and first met Sherrill at a tournament in June. That led to her attending a camp hosted by the Falcons in July.
Parks also participated in a camp at Lenoir-Rhyne University, which showed interest in her, but Parks said “the deciding factors were the people and coaches at Pfeiffer.”
Last weekend, Parks went on an official visit to the school’s campus in Misenheimer, and shortly announced her verbal commitment
“It was a great visit and everyone really made me a priority,” Parks explained. “I got to hang out in the dorms with the team, check out the facilities and the campus felt like home.
“The softball program here is focused on helping me work toward being a better woman,” she added. “Not only do they want us to succeed on the field, but they want us to become good citizens and not just go through the motions.”
This past spring the Falcons (Division III), which compete in the USA South Conference, went 35-10 overall and won the regular season conference championship with a 16-2 record. Pfeiffer also competed for the conference tournament title.
Transferring to Richmond last spring for her junior season, Parks said the impact of the Lady Raider program was immediate thanks to head coach Mike Way and assistant Andy Shuler.
“Mike being my coach has done the most for me out of any of my high school or travel ball coaches,” Parks said. “He taught me to believe in myself and if I do that, the things I want will happen.
“It was a big step coming to Richmond,” Parks added of her transfer from Marlboro Academy. “All the girls here showed me what a real team is and that benefited my ability to play.”
As a junior, Parks batted .305 and was second on the team with six home runs in 21 games. She led the Lady Raiders with 27 RBIs, scored 25 runs and added six more extra-base hits.
Parks’ biggest moment was a two-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh inning against rival Scotland High School.
As her senior season approaches, Parks expects herself and the Lady Raiders to set lofty goals once again.
“I want to keep the bat hot and work on my leadership qualities,” Parks said. “I want to be a good role model for all of the girls, especially the ones coming up from JV. I hope the team is competitive and that we win the conference and make the playoffs.
“A big thank you to my family, my coaches, teammates and fans who have supported me on this journey,” she closed.