The recent success of the Richmond Hill baseball and softball programs took another step forward Wednesday as Rick Mitchell and Trinity Jennings signed letters of intent to continue playing in college.
Both seniors, Mitchell signed to play baseball at East Georgia State College while Jennings will play softball at Columbia International University.
Mitchell will play for a team that won its first ever regular season conference title last spring, while Jennings will be on the first ever team put on the field by CIU.
The East Georgia Bobcats went 30-23 this past season, with a 16-8 record in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association before falling in the final game of the conference tournament.
“I think I’ll fit in well,” Mitchell said. “They treated me like family when I went to visit.”
Columbia International, meanwhile, is in the process of expanding its athletic program and recently added softball.
“It will be fun because we’ll all be new there at the same time,” Jennings said. “We have 11 players signed so far.”
Sara Allen, who was hired in June to lead the CIU softball team, said Jennings will be a “cornerstone” of the new program.
“After getting to know her and her family this fall, I couldn’t be happier that the Jennings chose to be part of building Rams softball,” Allen said. “Trinity has an incredible leadership presence on the field and easily connects with everyone.”
Wildcats baseball coach Stacy Bennett said leadership is also what will help Mitchell succeed at East Georgia and beyond.
“He’s a three-year starter for us and has a relentless blue-collar work ethic,” Bennett said. “He’s hard-nosed and has a high baseball IQ.”
Mitchell said his time at Richmond Hill has prepared him well.
“The coaches and my teammates push me every day to get better,” he said. “We work on building a foundation and the little things matter. Everyone buys into it.”
Mitchell, a middle infielder, hit .354 with 20 RBIs last spring as the Wildcats went 23-13 and reached the Elite Eight in the state tournament.
Jennings, who plays first base, hit .317 with four RBIs as a senior as the Wildcats went 15-13 and reached the state tournament for a third consecutive year.
Jessica Cooper, Richmond Hill’s assistant coach who also coached Jennings at Richmond Hill Middle School, said CIU is lucky to have her.
“I remember even as an eighth grader Trinity was always asking for extra reps after practice,” Cooper said. “That’s the type of player she is.”
Mitchell said he plans to study criminology, while Jennings wants to pursue a degree in psychology.