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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

WBC adds trio from Highland

Thursday, July 30, 2009

GOING TO THE NEXT LEVEL: From left are: Highland Assistant Coach Phylene Crook, Highland Head Coach Rebecca Rider, Natalie Culver, Karisa Hendrix, Jessica Sellers and Williams Baptist Head Coach Eric Newell. Photo/Sparks
It's not just every day that a high school softball program has three of its players sign letters of intent to play college ball -- all on the same day and all with the same college.

Of course, it's not just every day that a high school softball program racks up a 55-15 record over a two-year period, including back-to-back trips to the state championship game.

But the Highland Lady Rebels managed to accomplish all the above when standouts Karisa Hendrix and Jessica Sellers, along with former Lady Reb Natalie Culver, inked to play for Williams Baptist University next season.

The trio of dynamite softballers signed their letters in a ceremony at the Highland High School library July 22.

Highland made quite a splash on the state softball scene the past couple of years by reaching the Class 4A finals, even though the Lady Rebels were stopped short of their ultimate goal -- a state title.

Highland went 28-6 and fell to Dardanelle 1-0 in extra innings last year, and the year before that, the Lady Rebs racked up a 27-9 mark before being stopped in the state championship game by Ashdown.

Clearly, that was enough to catch the eye of WBC Head Coach Eric Newell.

But, there's more to it than just that.

"They are not only good players, but they're good human beings and good students, too," said Newell. "We're really pleased with these girls from Highland."

Karisa Hendrix

The fireballing Hendrix kept opposing batters off balance all year long, resulting in another trip to the All-State team for Hendrix. K-risa also tossed an elusive perfect game this past year.

And then there was the little matter of setting the state high school record for career strikeouts. Hendrix fanned 1,391 batters during a four-year career that also saw her rack up 88 victories.

Jessica Sellers

Sellers, Hendrix' battery mate for the past four years, also had an outstanding season, one that also ended with a spot on the All-State squad.

More than just a defensive gem, Sellers also racked up an impressive .393 batting average and drove in a team-high 28 runs, coming up with clutch hit after clutch hit.

Natalie Culver

Although she was not a part of this past season's Lady Rebel squad, after graduating the year before, Culver is still etched in Highland softball lore.

She nailed down second base the previous four years for the Lady Rebels, helping set the softball program on the track it is today.

After attending Arkansas State University this past year, Culver missed taking to the softball diamond and arranged for a tryout at Williams Baptist.

Safe to say, Newell liked what he saw and now Culver will join her former Highland teammates as Lady Eagles next year in Walnut Ridge.

The Lady Eagles sported an overall mark of 24-18 last season, 11-5 in the American Midwest Conference.

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