Three Rivers College softball coach Jeff Null noticed Holcomb senior Bailey Cupples had not committed to a college when he was searching for his final recruits for next season on a recruiting website.
"After we filled our initial needs I was looking for an athlete with some upside,” Null said. “I was scrolling through some of the recruiting sites and Bailey’s name popped up. Once we learned Bailey hadn’t committed we got in contact with her right away and things just worked out. It’s an opportunity to add another athlete to our program. I think her best days are still in front of her and I cannot wait to get started working with her.”
Cupples made the decision to play softball at Three Rivers College earlier this week. Family, friends and coaches gathered to celebrate the decision at a signing ceremony at Holcomb High School Wednesday evening.
“I’ve always wanted to play college softball,” Cupples said. “They have a really good program at Three Rivers with a really good coaching staff at Three Rivers. Plus it’s really close to home.”
Cupples has been a starter on the varsity softball, basketball, and volleyball squads at Holcomb since she was a freshman. Matt Casper has served as Cupples’ head volleyball and softball coach at Holcomb.
“She is a multi-sport athlete who has enjoyed success in all three sports she has played," Casper said. “She led us in almost every offensive category her sophomore season. She’s a competitor all the way around. She is the most coachable kid I’ve ever coached. She’s dedicated to what she does and has excelled. I’m so proud she is getting an opportunity to continue her playing career at Three Rivers.”
Cupples, who was recently named the 2020 Tri-County Conference Volleyball Player of the Year, said softball has always been her favorite sport even though she has also enjoyed success playing indoor sports.
“I started playing travel ball at a young age and learned to love it ever since,” she said. “Softball is definitely my favorite sport."
Null said Cupples’ success at the plate against talented high school pitchers sparked his interest in the recruit.
“Bailey is a player we took a long look at,” Null said. “Level of competition was a concern for us with Holcomb not being the biggest program. That being said, I took note she hit well against the Gibson girl at Southland and Lilly Johnson over at New Madrid."
Cupples has been the starting shortstop for Holcomb in recent seasons. Casper feels she has the versatility to play in the infield or the outfield moving forward.
“She has pretty much anchored shortstop for our squad because of her glove, athleticism, and arm,” Casper said. “She’s got one of the best arms I’ve seen and she hits the ball extremely well. I could see her transitioning into an outfielder at the next level just because of her size, athleticism, and the ground she can cover. She’s versatile enough that I think she should be able to help Three Rivers in different areas.”
Cupples remains undecided on a major at this time but expressed thanks to everyone that helped her make it to this point.
“I want to thank my coaches, parents, and teammates for helping me get this far,” Cupples said. “I never would have came close to this without any of them.”
Dustin Ward - Delta Dunklin Democrat