Good friends since they were young, Princeton seniors Gracelyn Massey and Logan Sutton each followed their hearts during their respective college recruiting campaigns.
Massey will don some Barton College softball gear next spring, while Sutton is heading to Greenville to play softball at East Carolina University.
Each signed a national letter of intent and officially announced their intentions with their parents and coach in attendance Friday afternoon.
“It’s just a relief knowing where I’m going to go after high school, and it’s just comforting that I don’t have to stress about it anymore,” Massey said.
“It’s been a long time coming. Softball has been a part of my life since I was about six years old,” Sutton added. “To finally be able to sign feels great, and I’m excited about this opportunity.”
Now Massey and Sutton get the chance to extend their respective careers on the collegiate level.
Sutton has overcome difficult injuries to achieve her dreams of playing Division I softball. She tore her ACL and meniscus in her left knee, and then a year later, she tore her ACL and meniscus in her right knee.
After surgery, she was not able to walk for six weeks and used crutches. She had physical therapy for nine months after each injury, and through hard work and perseverance, she overcame her injuries and achieved her dreams.
“My injuries were a year apart exactly,” Sutton said. “My legs are stronger now, and I’m better from it.”
Sutton, who plans on majoring in business management, felt a certain connection with ECU after she got an opportunity to see the campus. She also liked that ECU was close to home.
“Staying close to home, so my family was able to come visit and see me play was the biggest thing,” Sutton said.
Massey can do it all for the Bulldogs. A pitcher with a 1.29 earned run average with 56 strikeouts. She can also hit. Massey has a career .517 batting average with 11 RBIs and two home runs.
And Massey is anxiously awaiting the chance to play softball in college.
“I liked that Barton was a small school, and I felt that it wouldn’t be too big of a transition from Princeton to Barton,” Massey said. “I really like the environment there.”
Princeton head coach Don Andrews will depend on Massey and Sutton to lead an experienced team this spring.
The Bulldogs have won three straight Carolina Conference 1A titles, which is an act the team will look to repeat this season, but for now, Andrews said he is happy to see Massey and Sutton get the chance to play college softball.
“In 40 years of doing signings, it never gets old. It’s so exciting to see young kids who have worked their whole lives get opportunities to go to college and play. They both have done everything asked of them, and it’s kind of a reward for their hard work,” Andrews said. “They’ll remember this day for the rest of their lives. Gracyn is kind of quiet, but that Bulldog is too before he bits you. She’s got that tenacity and that drive that can’t be coached, and she does everything she can to win.
“Logan is the same way, and just coming back from those two injuries tells you about her grit and her determination. I wouldn’t want to meet her bad side because she has no quit. She’s a tenacious player who wants to win.”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Massey and Sutton said they are thankful for getting to have a senior season and play softball with each other for a final season.