PORTSMOUTH — To Madison Perry, the University of Rio Grande has always felt like a second softball home.
Attending camps there since the age of 11, and developing a good relationship with head coach Chris Hammond as a result, put Portsmouth’s Perry on the RedStorm radar —and starting next fall as a four-year official resident and student-athlete.
That’s because Perry, in a recent signing ceremony at Portsmouth High School, put pen to paper —and officially announced her intention to play softball for the NAIA’s RedStorm.
Perry was flanked at her ceremony by her parents, Keenan and Rachel Perry; PHS softball head coach Kristen Bradshaw; Hammond; her West Virginia Dusters travel team coaches; and several other family members, friends and Trojan teammates.
Perry — the standout senior shortstop and traditional three-hole hitter for the Trojans — is a returning Division III all-Ohio second-team selection, in addition to being named first-team all-Ohio Valley Conference and all-Southeast District as a junior.
As the Trojans were a Division III Southeast District runner-up, Perry batted .631 last season with 65 hits, 18 doubles, six triples, 49 runs batted in, and lastly eight home runs.
Perry, in an interview with The Portsmouth Daily Times, kept emphasizing her homeward feel for Rio Grande —and the RedStorm’s reciprocation.
“Rio has always felt like a home to me and has always been welcoming,” she said. “I’ve developed a good relationship with Coach Hammond, having gone to camps there for so long. I am a versatile type of player and have experience playing infield and outfield. So I will play whatever position Coach Hammond puts me at and will help my team.”
Hammond has had the recruiting watch on Perry for some time.
“I’ve known Madison since she was in seventh grade. She has attended our camps and winter league. We have followed her high school career and travel ball over the past six years. She has all the attributes that we are looking for in a student-athlete. Madison is a versatile player that has a great knowledge of the game,” said the coach. “She will make a big impact on our program both on and off the field.”
Perry, as a Trojan freshman, made first-team all-OVC and all-Southeast District Division III Honorable Mention —as unfortunately she had no sophomore season, thanks to the Ohio High School Athletic Association canceling it because of the coronavirus threat.
But, she was able to play travel softball that summer —something she has been doing since the age of nine.
She began with the Buckeye Elite, and at age 14 began playing with the West Virginia Dusters — remaining with them since then.
So softball is deep in Perry’s blood —that bleeds Portsmouth Trojan red and blue.
Bradshaw, like Hammond, believes Perry will make an impact in any batting hole and at any defensive position —primarily at shortstop or in the outfield.
She could pitch in a pinch if she had to, but otherwise any infield spot she excels at.
“Maddie is an all-around great player. She can do it all,” said Bradshaw, a former RedStorm head coach herself. “She has a great work ethic and is willing to do whatever is needed to help out the team. I think she will make an immediate impact at Rio, at any position they need her to play. Her bat is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Rio Grande holds a special place in my heart, and I can’t wait to see Maddie succeed in a RedStorm uniform.”
Perry said she is excited about the opportunity, and before that, her Trojans’ senior season.
She plans on majoring in Early Childhood Education, and will make Rio Grande her new softball home come the fall of 2022.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved