Mary Austin Barber (second from right) signed with Belhaven College on Friday. Pictured with her his her father Mark, left to right, sister Mallory and mother Connie. (Submitted Photo)
Starkville Academy softball player Mary Austin Barber has known for a while that Belhaven would be her destination for softball at the next level.
She made the move official this week.
Barber signed with the Jackson-based school and celebrated the occasion with family and friends Friday night at Meadowview Baptist Church.
After committing to Belhaven back in August, Barber never budged on her decision to join the Blazers.
"I love the coaches mainly and loved the campus," Barber said. "It's smaller than normal.
"I had a few places I was looking at, but in the end, it worked out."
Barber actually considered it a relief to finally be able to put the pen to paper.
"It's been long and I have been waiting for this for a long time," Barber said. "I saw all my friends sign last year. Coaches talked to me and didn't even know what that meant. I'm just glad it's here."
During her career with the Lady Volunteers, Barber was chosen Best Defensive Player in 2010-11 and 2011-12. She was selected All-Conference in 2011-12, All-Conference Honorable Mention in 2010-11, and Golden Triangle Player of the Year for 2011-12.
Belhaven softball coach Kevin Griffin is excited to have Barber join the program.
"Belhaven is the winningest softball program in Mississippi and has finished No. 3 and No. 5 in the nation the past three years," Griffin said in an emailed statement to the family. "I think that Mary Austin will have a chance to come into our program and compete for playing time immediately. She has played at a high level with her travel team during the summer and there is no doubt that she has the ability to excel at the collegiate level. I look forward to having her on campus next fall."
Barber takes great pride in the accomplishments achieved while playing travel softball for the Mississippi Blast in 2010-12. She received the Oklahoma City Triple Crown Stand-Out Athlete Award in the Oklahoma City Tournament.
Barber thanked her family and coaches for their support throughout her softball career and especially the coaches of her travel team in Burney King and Steve Usry.
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