Rehobeth senior softball star Gracie Alberson admitted she felt a lot of emotion as she signed a scholarship to play the sport on the Alabama South coast at Bay Minette on Friday morning.
“It kind of feels like a relief,” Alberson said after the signing in the Rehobeth High School library. “I’ve been working towards this for what feels like an eternity. I’m very excited. I can’t wait to get to Coastal. I’ve wanted to play college ball for as long as I can remember. It’s been a dream of mine since I was little, so I’m excited.”
A versatile player, Alberson has played in almost every position during her high school career except as a defensive pitcher for Rehobeth. Last year she was the team’s catcher and played some first base. She’ll likely move back to second base or shortstop and some outfield next season.
However, Alberson is better known for her offense. Last spring she earned it Dothan Eagle Super 12 Honors and second-team All-State from the Alabama Sports Writers Association after scoring .478 with a baseline percentage of .559. She hit seven homers, 10 triples, eight doubles and drove in 40 runs, scoring 51 runs. She was also a perfect 21 of 21 on stolen base attempts.
Her efforts helped Rehobeth achieve a 34-10-1 record and a fourth-place finish in the state in Class 5A.
As a junior, Alberson hit .329 with a .409 on-base percentage, six home runs, five doubles and 27 runs batted during a Rebels’ 22–10 regional tournament season.
“She’s one of the best hitters I’ve ever had and one of the strongest and fastest players,” said Rehobeth’s head coach Summer Chandler, who is entering her 18th year with the program. “She also has one of the best work ethics, but most of all she’s a good kid. In all the years I’ve been at it, that’s the hardest thing to replace — those high-profile individuals and those who lead by example on the field. I can talk all day about what she did and meant for the program.”
Alberson said Coastal Alabama coaches have indicated that she will likely play both infield and outfield with the Sun Chiefs, but that offense is the top priority for her.
“They really like my racquet,” Alberson said. “They like my speed and my racquet. I would say those were the two things that caught her attention. They’re a fan of my shots and my speed.”
The University of Montevallo has also expressed an interest in Alberson, but said it feels more comfortable on the Alabama coast.
“I went down to see coach (Mallory) Radwitch and I loved her right away,” Alberson said.
“I loved the environment down there. It felt like the teammates were like family and I really liked that. I was even allowed to go out on the pitch and I just loved it down there.”
Signing with the Sun Chiefs joins a former Rehobeth teammate, Shellie Littlefield, who is in her freshman year with the Bay Minette program after playing her senior year with the Rebels in the spring.
“I’m really excited about that,” Alberson said of reuniting with Littlefield. “Shellie (Littlefield) is one of my best friends. I’ve been playing with her since seventh grade and I’m really happy that I can play with her again. It’s comforting to know I have someone down there. It warms me up.”
Now that her signing is complete, Alberson is ready to focus on her senior season.
“I’m really looking forward to getting it out of the way and focused on having fun and spending this final season with my team and my coaches before graduating.”