Summers signs with Lady Red Hawks

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Marshall County High School's Rakitia Summers, surrounded by her family, signs on the dotted to continue her softball career at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski next year. Tribune photo by Anthony S. Puca

Marshall County standout Rakitia Summers will roam the outfield next season at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski after the four-year Tigerette starter signed scholarship papers Thursday to play for the Lady Red Hawks.

Martin Methodist Associate Director of Admissions and softball recruiter Brad Taylor said, "We try to watch all the local teams play and came to watch a game and we were impressed. We invited Rakitia to come to the campus and we were able to work something out and now we are real excited she is going to be with us next year."

Summers started for former MCHS coach Reese Hambrick in her first year and continued to hold down a starting spot the reminder of her scholastic career under current head coach Holly Cook.

"When I first came I didn't expect to start because there was a lot of competition, but I was determined to prove myself and I had to work as hard as I could and that's what I did," said Summers, who will major in physical therapy at Martin Methodist.

During those four years, the Tigerettes won the Region 5-AA title in 2009 and the District 12-AA championship in 2010, while amassing a 94-44-1 overall record and went an impressive 44-14 in district play.

"Being an outfielder, having good speed is always a plus," said Taylor. "We like when outfielders can run. We are always looking for outfielders who can run and make plays."

The Tigerettes, winners of the 2005 TSSAA state title just missed a return trip to the Blue Cross Spring Fling in both 2009 and 2010 when they lost back-to-back sectional games.

Summers said about continuing her softball career, "I am excited to go to Martin Methodist and prove myself and get better to get on the field with the team."

The power hitting speedster had a career threatening injury in 2010 when she tore her ACL, but incredibly, was back on the field to begin the season in 2011.

"Physical therapy was pretty hard, I had to start it the day after my surgery," said Summers. "It was not easy, but I was determined to come back at full throttle and be back on the field as soon as possible and that is what I did. I am ok now and ready for whatever happens."

Summers is playing travel ball this summer for Team Synergy out of Franklin in preparation for her college career.

"I am playing in a lot of different tournaments against a lot of great competition and older players to get better," said Summers.

Other notable players on the Team Synergy squad are current Tigerette third baseman Brianna Roberts, Lawrence County High School ace hurler and Tennessee State University signee Shea Morris, Hannah Trainer (Ravenwood), Cheyanne Knepper (Goodpasture), Julie Layne (Coffee Co), and Kristen Meisel (Mt. Juliet).

Summers gave credit to Hambrick for developing her outstanding outfield skills and credited Cook with improving her hitting proficiency.

Asked about her lessons learned about determination and what she would like to pass on to the young girls on the ball fields of Marshall County today, Summers said, "Work hard for what you want, do whatever it takes, because in the long run, it will pay off."