Warrick signs with UT Martin
Forrest senior standout Katie Warrick's girlhood dream came to fruition on National Signing Day in Chapel Hill when she accepted a softball scholarship with UT Martin on Monday.
"I'm really excited, I have been waiting for this since I was eight years old," said Warrick. "It's my life, I've been playing since I was three years old so I just love it."
When Warrick takes her spot on the Field of Dreams in early March, she will become only one of a handful of Lady Rockets who will have started for five years.
"I am really proud of that," said Warrick. "I am kind of sad though that this is my last year, but I am confident about this year and excited about what the future holds."
The reigning District 9-A MVP belted a school record 17 homeruns last year and posted a lofty .648 batting average for Forrest, who went 31-9 while winning both the District 9-A and Region 5-A tournaments.
"Katie has been awesome for our program and I am looking forward to her fifth year; she has set some lofty goals and I hope she accomplishes every one of them," said Forrest head coach Becky Cheatham. "She overcame a broken leg in her sophomore year and the difficulty she had to deal with this year with the loss of her brother. Katie does what she has to do in the classroom and is a leader in our school and has become a leader on the ball field, so I am extremely proud of her."
After defeating the reigning state champion Richland Lady Raiders 6-2 in the state sectional round, Forrest won their first game at the Spring Fling before back-to-back losses ended their season.
Warrick, who will be asked to pick up the majority of the pitching duties this year for Forrest, posted an impressive 17-3 record with 75 strikeouts last season in the circle.
When not in the circle for the Lady Rockets, Warrick will guard the hot corner at Forrest, a position she has owned since eighth grade.
Warrick's love is softball and the soft-spoken, yet big-bat-wielding power hitter plays a ton, traveling the country with the Tennessee Ballhawks 97 during the summer and fall travel ball seasons.
"Katie will excel at the DI level, she has been doing it every day and it is her livelihood as well as school, so I think she can be an All-American at UT Martin," said Ballhawk head coach Dwayne Dodson.
Warrick has played three seasons for the Ballhawks, who have been in existence for seven years and have garnered numerous tournament titles during Warrick's time on the squad.
"Katie is a great player and a great person as well, she is a real physical specimen and can really hit the softball and plays great defensively, so she is that kind of player that can excel in a top organization," said Dodson."
Known as a tough, down-and-dirty player on the diamond, Warrick has faced some adversity in her four years at Forrest, breaking her leg early in her sophomore campaign and in August, Warrick suffered a tragic blow when her older brother Joseph was killed in a car accident.
"I have to keep the faith and I just know my brother would be proud of me now," said Warrick. "Overcoming my broken leg was just an obstacle in my way that wasn't stopping me from anything."
Anyone knowing Warrick up close realizes the determination and positivity she exudes, perfectly exemplifying the longtime Forrest mantra of "Never give up, never give in" that has been the backbone of the Chapel Hill squad during their incredible state tournament run that has produced one state title in 2008 and three more runner-up plaques.
"Moving here was kind of scary at first, but I learned what tradition was, I learned what a team really was, and I learned a lot from Miss Cheatham and coach (Ricky) Stinnett, who taught me self discipline, how to be a better player, and they gave me the confidence I was searching for."
Warrick will now wear the senior badge of honor for Forrest, who bring back another talented squad this season and the Lady Rockets will be expecting to compete in the state tournament for the 10th time in the last 14 seasons.
"It's our year this year," said Warrick. "As long as we go out and give it our best, I'm sure we will do really well in the state tournament."
Warrick, who sports a stellar 3.9 G.P.A. in the classroom, will be majoring in Health and Human Performance at UT Martin and hopes someday to become a physical therapist.