DAMASCUS -- As her teammates offered congratulations, cut a cake in her honor and then wished her well, Southwest Georgia Academy softball star Danielle Powell couldn't help but get a little teary eyed Monday after signing with Andrew College.
"It's exciting to go somewhere new," began a slightly choked-up Powell, "but it's going to be sad leaving."
Don't worry, Danielle -- SGA will miss you, too.
Especially Powell's .328 lifetime batting average and the 28 hits and 14 RBI she notched this past season at third base, leading the Lady Warriors to a second-place finish in Region 3-AA.
"We're both just really proud of her," said Powell's father, Dale, who was accompanied by her mother, Dana. "There's been a lot of heart, sweat and tears put into this sport ever since she was six years old. It's the only one she ever played."
Powell said she chose Andrew because of its close proximity to her native Damascus -- roughly 15 miles away -- as well as wanting to play for a school she called "a hot spot."
"I really liked the coach and (his desire) to make Andrew into a really competitive program," said Powell, who was named to the All-Region team her junior and senior seasons, while also playing in the GISA All-Star game. "Hopefully, I'll help (with that)."
SGA coach Tommy Manry has little doubt she will.
"Danielle is just such a ray of sunshine. I don't remember her ever coming to practice without a smile on her face," he said. "She was one of the few I can safely say always gave me 100 percent."