At the top of Eastside softball’s lineup this season was its best player, Caitlin Ray. In the media center where Ray signed her letter of intent on Thursday afternoon, she was surrounded by her teammates, friends and a lot of family. In her four years at Eastside, Ray has been one of the best softball talents in the county and she capped off a great season by signing her letter of intent to play softball at Georgia State.
“Just really exciting because all of my hard work has finally paid off,” Ray said about how she felt on her signing day.
“I really liked the coaches and I like the city a lot, and it’s kind of close to home,” she added.
Ray says she wanted to be close to home, but not too close. In her final year at Eastside Ray finished with a split line of .536 batting average,.602 on base percentage and .821 slugging percentage to go along with 25 RBI, 22 doubles, four triples and five home runs.
“She’s one of those special athletes that only comes through every so often. She’s been a huge part of our success here at Eastside,” Heather Wood, EHS head softball coach, said. “It’s bittersweet for us because we know we’re losing a great player and a great asset to our team, but we know she’s gonna go on to do great things at Georgia State.”
“Her athletic and softball ability is top-notch so we know she’s gonna go on to do great things as far as softball and continue her education,” Wood added.
Wood says Caitlin’s best attribute is her offense and that she knows she’ll do well at Georgia State because of her electric bat.
Ray has played travel ball for 10 months out of the year for 11 years. She set a goal to play at the collegiate level when she was nine years old, her father, Jonathan Ray recalls.
“She has showed a tremendous work ethic in everything she does. She’s very dedicated. She’s a true leader. We’re so proud of her and everything that she’s so done,” Jonathan Ray said.
Both of Caitlin’s parents expect big things from her in the future. Caitlin has goals to one day be invited to play for the U.S. softball national team, which is a goal she’s working toward now. But for now, Caitlin’s goals are to start as a freshman and keep a high batting average.
“It’s such a blessing to see your child succeed,” Jonathan Ray said. “For girls this is the highest level you can go now. So watching her being able to fulfill her life-long dream with this and further her education at the same time is — words can’t express how we feel about it. We’re so proud of her.”