Grace Watlington

Grace Watlington was ready to play some softball in this photo taken before virtual school came to be.



Editor’s Note: Sports articles were written prior to the shut down.

As Grace Watlington tells it, softball has been part of her life since age 3 when she started playing on a Caswell County Parks and Recreation team.

The Bartlett Yancey junior joined a travel team at age 11, started catching at age 13 and has played all three years of high school.

“I really grew into it,” said Watlington, who has also played basketball for the Buccaneers. “The entire sport is what I really love. The way the team gets pumped when we make a good play. The sport is really fun. That’s what I love about it.”

She enjoys feeling like part of a team, too, she said.

So when the Coronavirus and the disease it causes – Covid-19 – brought an abrupt end to the season in mid March, she was devastated.

“It’s just really heartbreaking,” said Watlington. “Even though I have one more year left, it (her high school career) still wouldn’t complete the experience like everyone else (in previous classes) had.”

After giving first base and third base a try, she found her place at catcher early in her career.

“That began to be my No. 1 position because I loved it so much,” Watlington said.

She said she loves the leadership role the position brings and being a part of every play.

Catching, she said, “makes me feel like I have power.” From behind home plate, she said, “I can see the whole field. I have the perspective of it.”

Watlington, who helps her family raise goats, said she enjoys softball so much she hopes to play in college. At this point Methodist University in Fayetteville is her top choice, she said. She has attended camps there and has gotten positive feeback from the coaches. But she said she’s open to other offers.

“Sports will get you somewhere in life,” she said. “Sports will help me get into a really good college.”

One other draw to Methodist for Watlington: it offers the major she wants – forensic science. That would allow her to bring together two of her interests – criminal justice and chemistry – she said.

She said she developed an interest in criminal justice by watching “Criminal Mines” on television. That’s a CBS drama in which police solve crimes. She also liked chemistry and, through an internet search, found a career that put those two together.

Her ultimate goal: helping solve crimes as part of federal or state law enforcement, she said.

For fun, Watlington said she likes to camp with family, hang out with friends and play video games. Her family, she said, usually camper camps at Hyco Lake or Reidsville Lake.