Norris signs with USC-Salkehatchie

Submitted photo Midland Valley softball third baseman Kara Norris is surrounded by friends and family as she signs to play at USC–Salkehatchie. Beside her is Midland Valley coach Michelle Yeater, left, USC-Salkehatchie coach Mitch Smith, right. Back row includes from left, Midland Valley principal Dr. Doris Hickson, sister Monica Moore, holding son, Aaron Moore, mother Marla Norris, holding Katelyn Moore, and father Greg Norris.

GRANITEVILLE -- Midland Valley senior softball player Kara Norris signed last week to continue her prep career at USC-Salkehatchie. Norris, 17, is a third baseman who blossomed on the diamond last year to lead the Lady Mustangs. A .290 hitter, Norris' defensive strength on the hot corner got her noticed by several schools. She drew interest from USC Aiken, Aiken Tech and USC-Sumter but said once she visited USC-Salkehatchie, she just knew it was the place for her to be. "I loved the atmosphere down there," she said. "Everybody was so friendly." For Norris and her family, softball is just as much a part of life as eating or sleeping. Norris doesn't play the sport she loves only in the spring but year round as part of a local traveling team, the Carolina Raiders. "I love everything about the sport," Norris said. "I love the adrenaline rush you get when you hit the ball and when you throw someone out." Norris has been playing softball for Midland Valley for six years, the last four on the varsity level. She has been a starter for head coach Michelle Yeater's team for the past three seasons. Yeater said her defensive skills are natural, and she is very good at anticipating what is going to happen when it comes to bunt situations. Norris had thought about waiting until after her senior season to make a decision but decided to at least look at her options and those colleges that were interested in her. Norris had looked at staying local and had scheduled to visit USC-Sumter, but once she went to Allendale and talked with head coach Mitch Smith, she knew she was in the right spot. "It felt right," she said. "When I talked to Coach Smith and he said I would get to start as a freshman and I would even get to have my number (10), everything just fell into place." Yeater said that Norris deserves the opportunity to play on the college level and would be a great asset to any program. "She is a hard worker and great young lady," Yeater said. "She originally thought she didn't have the ability to play at the next level, but last year was special. She shined defensively last year. She was a play maker. She did everything to help the team you needed. It's a dream come true for her."