It's never too early to make a college decision when you're a fast-pitch softball standout.
A pair of young Ocean Springs softball players recently verbally committed to play on the collegiate level for SEC and ACC programs.
Kylie Taylor, a freshman pitcher who has yet to play on the varsity level at Ocean Springs, verbally committed in the last week to play at Missouri. Sophomore infielder Mikaila Fox verbally committed on Friday to attend Virginia.
Fox was originally committed to attend McNeese State, but the school's former coach, Joanna Hardin, was hired to take over the Virginia program this season.
“(Fox) went to Virginia for a visit and fell in love with it,” Ocean Springs coach Lindsay O'Brien said Tuesday. “That's where she wants to go. (Hardin) is a great coach. She should do there what she did at McNeese State.”
O'Brien expects Fox to fit in somewhere on the middle infield as a college player.
Fox batted .353 with three homers and 21 RBIs last year as a freshman shortstop for the Lady Greyhounds, earning a spot on the Sun Herald All-South Mississippi Team.
O'Brien is anxious to see what Taylor can do on the pitcher's rubber at Ocean Springs, describing her as a “game changer.”
Taylor transferred to Ocean Springs from East Central prior to her freshman year. She received some playing time as a seventh grader at East Central, but sat out her eighth grade season.
“Kylie was looking at a lot of schools,” O'Brien said. “She was looking at Ole Miss and Alabama. There were a lot of schools that were looking at her. They recruit so early, especially with pitchers.”
O'Brien said that Taylor has been clocked in the low 60's as a pitcher.
“They like her probably because of her size and speed,” O'Brien said. “She's the real deal. I haven't seen her play in games yet. Watching film and seeing her practice, she's the real deal.”
Ocean Springs finished 13-10-1 last season and was eliminated by Harrison Central in the playoffs.
O'Brien is hoping this the young and talented group she now has will help the Lady Greyhounds soon get over the hump in the postseason.
“I think this group is going to start a new era for Ocean Springs softball, put us on the map,” O'Brien said.