The Cass High star pitcher and shortstop will be attending Georgia Highlands, and her new coach said she has the skill set to make an immediate impact with the program.
“She’s going to contribute next year, absolutely,” Melissa Wood, Georgia Highlands coach, said. “The best kids play right off the bat at Georgia Highlands. You’ll see her in the fall playing against D-I schools and you’ll see her in the spring playing against our NJCAA opponents.”
Wood said Bailey brings a lot to the game.
“I was interested in her because of her ability level and her versatility,” the coach said. “She’s a utility player. She can pitch. She can play infield. I’m sure she can play outfield.”
Bailey also got high marks for how quickly she absorbs the fine points of playing the game.
“When I first got here, I did a hitting clinic,” Wood recalled. “Courtney was one of the hitters and she just caught on to what we were teaching. I think if I can get her six days a week for a whole year she’s really going to flourish into a big. By big, I mean our goal is to help our players get recruited out to bigger schools.
“I think she’s probably going to be one of the bigger prospects we recruit out in the future.”
Wood said Bailey will get to play against some of the best competition in the country at Georgia Highlands.
“”We play a fall schedule and compete against Division I schools,” she said. “We played the University of Florida last fall. They are currently ranked No. 1. She will play in all the fall games and then we get back into our NJCAA schedule in the spring.”
She said Bailey could contribute at several positions.
“I see her at middle infield, pitcher and possibly even outfield,” Wood said. “She’s aggressive and she’s competitive. I need more competitive athletes and we’re bringing that in next year.”
She said Bailey will play where she can help the team most.
“Honestly, [she will play] wherever we need someone. That’s where she’s going to be because she’s able to do that.”
Bailey was a four-year starter at Cass, where she was used primarily as a pitcher but also contributed as a shortstop regularly.
She said she became interested in Georgia Highlands after meeting coach Wood through her hitting clinic.
“Mo gave me hitting lessons for a year or so,” she said, adding she has a lot of confidence in the Georgia Highlands coaches and believes they will help her develop as a player.
She said she also likes staying in the Cartersville area.
“I wanted to stay close to home so I just figured I’d go there,” she added.
Bailey said she hopes to continue playing softball throughout her collegiate years but her career goal is in education.
“I’m just [playing softball] because I love it,” she said. “I want to do it throughout college and then I’ll be a teacher,” she said. “I’ll be done with my softball after my four years, I guess.”
Bailey said she became a pitcher at age 7. “I decided to pitch and do something different and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Bailey also has played traveling ball with Georgia Power, based out of Woodstock, since about age 10. The team plays primarily in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida.
She was named to the all-area and county softball teams as a sophomore, junior and senior as a pitcher.
Greg Hight, who coached Bailey at Cass, said she is a special player who will contribute at virtually any position.
“We used her primarily as a pitcher but she also played shortstop for us,” he said. “She’s an exceptional ballplayer.
“In high school you have to play them where you most need them. We needed her most on the mound, so she pitched for us. When she wasn’t pitching, she played some shortstop and third base. If the need had come for her to play in the outfield, I’m sure she would have done a fine job for us there, too.
“She’ll do whatever you ask her to do. She’s very coachable.”