Richardson and her big bat headed to Starkville

Published 6:06 pm Sunday, November 26, 2023

Abby Grace Richardson hits softball with a type of violence and force that few can replicate.

Earlier this month, the Brookhaven Academy alum and Copiah-Lincoln CC sophomore signed to take her hard hitting habits to Starkville and next play for the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Richardson’s pledge was part of an MSU signing class that ranked no. 15 in the nation for head coach Samantha Ricketts.

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The run to the 2023 NJCAA Division II National Championship for Co-Lin was one packed with memorable plays and performances. Some of those memorable hits came off the bat of Richardson as she set a school record with 80 RBIs and 24 home runs for coach Meleah Howard.

Her last home run of the year was the most unforgettable as Richardson blasted a grand slam that put CLCC up 6-0 in an eventual title clinching 7-0 victory of their rivals from Jones College.

Richardson grew up on a ballfield and played travel softball from a young age. Signing with State is the realization of some long-time goals.

“Playing in the SEC has always been a dream of mine, and when State gave me the opportunity to both play in the SEC and represent my home state, I knew that after lots of thoughts and prayers that is where I needed to further my academic and athletic career,” said Richardson.

As a senior, Richardson helped power Brookhaven Academy to the first state title in program history. She was named Daily Leader All-Area MVP after hitting 19 home runs and driving in 50 runs.

A versatile athlete with a strong arm, Richardson has played both infielder and catcher during her high school and college careers.

Joining her in the most recent MSU signing class are Paige Ernstes (New Palestine, Ind.), Gretta Grassel (Boscobel, Wisc.), Sara Phillips (Trussville, Ala.), Xiane Romero (Lake Elsinore, Calif.), Kalani Sells (Jasper, Texas), Abigail Stevens (East Rankin Academy), Morgan Stiles (Athens, Ala.) and Taylor Troutman (Henderson, Ky.).

Richardson is talented and blessed with extremely quick wrists, strong forearms, and keen hand-eye coordination. None of that will get you a scholarship to play at Mississippi State though if you aren’t willing to put in the work.

“I knew I could see myself at Mississippi State, but also knew it would take lots of hard work and good coaches to get me there. I’m thankful that I have had the opportunity to be coached by wonderful people and to be able to train in nice facilities rain or shine during my career.”

She’ll be the first Co-Lin alum to play in Starkville since catcher Megan Bateman Case suited up for the Bulldogs in 2007-2008.

As they did throughout her high school career, expect starting pitchers to walk Richardson at a high-rate next season. If you could give Jones College another crack at it, they’d likely walk Richardson with the bases loaded rather than have her blast a game-breaking grand slam.

With her softball future decided, she says the next goal is for Co-Lin to defend its national title.

“We’re definitely expecting to be good again this year,” said Richardson. “Our freshmen seem to be buying into the championship mentality and Coach Howard will definitely work us hard enough to be the team we need to be in order to bring another trophy to Wesson.”