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Bailee Williams signs with Alabama State

Feb. 6—TIFTON — Bailee Williams' storied athletic career at Tift County will soon continue at the college level. Friday, Feb. 2, Williams signed with Alabama State University to play softball.

"Thank you to every adult who has supported me since I started my athletic career," said Williams. "Coaches, teammates, especially my parents who have given all their time and support and, especially, money. I just want to say thank you and hope you all continue to stay with me through my path in my college career. I love each and every one of you."

Both of her head coaches, Taylor Barber and J.C. Clark, spoke at the event.

"Bailee has been an absolutely incredible human being for us over the last four years," said Barber, who is TCHS' softball leader.

He called out a handful of fastpitch records that Williams holds at the school. Most home runs in a season (10) and in a career (31). She leads in runs batted in (106) and walks (77).

As a senior, Williams hit .492 and was on base 63% of her at-bats, despite missing time with an injury. Her junior year was the one with 10 homers, a season that saw Williams drive in 35 runs while scoring 37.

Williams has made All-Region teams all four years of high school, with three first team selections. She also has been on two All-State teams and played in the Georgia Dugout Club All-State game.

Barber said Tift softball sticks to three values, connection, toughness and discipline. "Bailee is the perfect example of somebody who personifies what it means to have discipline and carry herself the way that she does in our school and in our community," he said. No question of Williams' toughness and building team culture, said Barber.

Williams achieved everything on the field while maintaining a GPA of 90, said Barber.

Clark admitted he had to talk Williams into track, a sport that sees her throw the shot put and discus. Even as a freshman, "She stole the show," Clark said.

Her work ethic is such on the track that Clark said coaches have to force her to go home and stop practicing.

Clark gave stats of Williams' track and field career. She has competed in 33 meets. Seventeen times, Williams finished in first, with eight second places and five third places. The only three meets where she did not finish in the top three were her state tournaments.

In 2022, Williams won the region title in both shot put and discus. It was her second region shot put crown.

"Take the Lord with you," said Clark. "He's the best source you have."

Williams' mother, Earlletheia, had her own speech giving thanks.

This was not only the signing of a scholarship, said Earlletheia Williams, but "The incredible journey of a young woman, Bailee, whose unwavering commitment to excellence has secured her a well-deserved spot on the softball field of Alabama State University.

"As a proud mother, it is with overwhelming joy that I stand before you to honor my daughter."

Earlletheia Williams recounted the work ethic that led her to the scholarship, as well as the support system Bailee has had along the way. That support has included teammates, coaches and family. "This achievement is not solely Bailee," she said.

"Alabama State University not just represents a destination, but a campus upon where Bailee will continue to paint the story of her success," said Earlletheia Williams. "As she steps upon those fields, she carries not only the weight of a scholarship, but the dreams of those who believed in her ability."

Clark and Barber had a surprise for Williams at the signing: Tift County Athletic Hall of Fame Female Athlete of the Year. The announcement caused Williams to tear up and brought a huge cheer from the large crowd watching her sign at the media center.