One of Southern Miss’ latest softball signees has an extremely strong Major League Baseball connection. You might say playing on the diamond is in her blood.
George County’s Kaitlyn Passeau signed with USM on Wednesday during a ceremony at her high school. The Rebel slugger is the great grand daughter of former MLB all-star and 13-year veteran Claude Passeau.
Although Claude died in 2003 when Kaitlyn was very young, she said it’s neat she gets to carry on the Passeau legacy on the diamond — even if it is in another sport.
“I've always heard stories about him playing,” she told the Sun Herald. “I'm glad that I get to be a part of it.”
Passeau is a standout in her own right.
In three years with the GCHS varsity team, Passeau has compiled a .414 batting average with six homers, 22 doubles, six triples, 63 RBIs, 59 runs scored, 14 stolen bases and a 1.140 OPS.
After hitting .319 as a freshman, Passeau jumped at the chance to verbally commit to USM and coach Wendy Hogue.
“I’ve really been set on it my whole life,” she said. “It’s somewhere I always wanted to go and I love Coach Hogue.”
Passeau believes she can be a left-handed power hitter at USM who might even contribute early in her collegiate career.
“(Hogue) hasn’t really said that I would (play early),” Passeau said, “but I feel like if I go up there and work hard I’ll find a place in the lineup.”
Wednesday’s ceremony also marks the first GCHS softball player to sign with a Division 1 program out of high school.
“That makes me really proud,” she said.
Wednesday’s ceremony clearly removed a hefty weight from Passeau’s shoulders.
“I’m glad it’s official so I can be stress free,” she said, before laughing. “I guess they’re stuck with me now.”
Passeau is coming off of an impressive junior campaign where she hit .446 with 12 extra-base hits, 31 RBIs and 27 runs scored. She also stole four bases.
“She’s fun to watch because she’s so instinctual. She’s a real student of the game and very knowledgeable,” GCHS coach Kasey McCann said. “She's very hard working and determined. We're lucky to have a player going to play Division 1 softball. Southern Miss is getting a great athlete.”