Special photo

Grace Bridges is joined by her teammates and coaches  after signing her commitment to play college softball at Augusta University. Bridges, in the blue Augusta University shirt, will also be joined at the college level by Ashley Nail, in the gray Augusta University shirt.

Grace Bridges, a four-year starter for Briarwood Academy’s Lady Bucs, last Wednesday signed to play softball at Augusta University.

Although her senior season she played short stop, at AU she is expected to play center field.

Wayne Wilson, recently retired Lady Bucs head coach, said Bridges played a variety of positions in high school including catcher, infield, and outfield.

“Grace has played wherever I have asked her to and she never let it bother her,” said Wilson.

As a Lady Buc, Bridges was part of a team that won the GISA AA state championship once and finished as state runner-up twice. She ended her senior season with a .475 batting average from 99 at bats with 47 hits and 28 RBIs. From the field in her senior season, she recorded  18 assists and 28 putouts.

He said he will remember Bridges’ competitive nature and hard work.

“She was just a competitor and going to give her all no matter what,” said Wilson.

The former Lady Bucs coach used weight room workouts as an example. He said if he told the girls to  do 10 reps and didn’t keep an eye on them  some might only do six reps.

“You didn’t have to worry about that with Grace. She was going to work and you could trust her — a good kid,” he said.

Bridges will already know several teammates at AU. She will be joining two of her fellow teammates, Chloe Wilson and Nicole  Purcell, that graduated in 2020 and are already on the AU softball team. Plus, they will be joined by another 2021 Briarwood graduate.

Coach Wilson said Ashley Nail will also be on the team as a preferred walk on.

“She’s on the team,” said Wilson, but because of NCAA rules she will not hold a signing.

“Ashley’s one of the fastest girls I have ever seen play the game,” said Wilson. “She gets on base and it’s a double automatically because she’s going to steal second.”

“When she puts the ball in play, you’re not going to throw her out,” he said.

Nail completed the season with a .324 batting average, 24 hits, 7 RBIs, 29 runs, and 9 stolen bases.

Wilson also said Nail is very strong in the outfield, where her speed is an advantage.

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