The road between Lyman and Lorman must be well worn by now with all the time Alcorn State coach Josef Rankin spends recruiting back on the Coast.
The former St. Martin softball coach has done a good job picking off some of South Mississippi’s top talent. His latest coup came Wednesday when Harrison Central outfielder Daijah Richardson signed with the Braves during a ceremony at the school’s softball and baseball complex.
“When I started to weigh my college options I was mostly thinking about where would I be comfortable with, a good facility where I can also get my education and play the sport that I love,” Richardson said. “Alcorn was the best choice.”
Richardson is the fifth Red Rebelette in two seasons to sign on with an Alcorn State roster that already boasts seven former Coast products in Pass Christian’s Bri Smith, Harrison Central’s Desirea Lindsey, Amari Ramsey and Ashley Arnold, Long Beach’s Kaylene Smith, Picayune’s Marissa McDonald and St. Patrick’s Victoria Tyler.
Former HCHS outfielder and current Jones County Junior College player Simone McKinney also signed with Alcorn State last week.
“There are already so many girls there who are family,” Richardson said, “and you can’t beat family.”
Richardson has routinely been one of Harrison Central’s top hitters. As a junior last year, Richardson hit .404 with 24 RBIs, seven extra-base hits and 36 runs scored with a .512 on-base percentage and 1.031 OPS. She also stole 16 bases. The year before, Richardson hit .333 with a .385 OBP, .818 OPS, five extra base hits and six stolen bases.
“She’s one of the fastest kids I have ever coached,” HCHS coach Jimmy Parker said. “She came in last year (replacing McKinney in center field) and did a good job. She’s a slap (hitter), of course, and a pretty good outfielder, too.”
Richardson is the latest member of Harrison Central’s senior class to sign a college scholarship. On Monday, twins Kayla and Kristen Cade signed scholarships to play at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.