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Southwest Georgia Academy’s Carver signs with Georgia Southwestern

Carver a key to SGA’s recent softball success

Southwest Georgia Academy senior Kendyl Carver, bottom right, signs her national letter-of-intent to play softball at Georgia Southwestern on Wednesday. Carver is seated next to SGA softball coach Tommy Manry and joined by, back row from left, mother Lynn Carver, father Jim Carver and SGA headmaster Matt Dalrymple. (Special to The Herald)

Southwest Georgia Academy senior Kendyl Carver, bottom right, signs her national letter-of-intent to play softball at Georgia Southwestern on Wednesday. Carver is seated next to SGA softball coach Tommy Manry and joined by, back row from left, mother Lynn Carver, father Jim Carver and SGA headmaster Matt Dalrymple. (Special to The Herald)

DAMASCUS — Kendyl Carver admits she never even watched the softball sail over the right field wall.

“I didn’t even look up,” Carver said on Wednesday, two months after her two-out, two-strike home run against Sherwood star pitcher Anna Laine Brock in the final inning to give Southwest Georgia Academy a region championship on its way to a perfect regular season.

It was the swing of a lifetime.

“I will always remember that swing,” SGA coach Tommy Manry said.

He won’t forget the girl who took the swing either.

On Wednesday, Carver signed a scholarship with Georgia Southwestern, and Manry, the longtime coach of the Lady Warriors, talked about how important his center fielder was to the success of the program.

“Kendyl is the type of kid that every coach dreams about coaching,” Manry said. “You talk about giving 100 percent all the time. And she not only gave me 100 percent in ball games, but she gave me 100 percent in practice every day.”

She never stopped pushing herself on the field.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said. “My senior year flew by, and for people to dread going to practice, I just didn’t understand that. I have always been one to take extra reps in the cages or stay after to hit. I always wanted to work harder and be better.”

And it’s all paid off for the senior, who will have a chance to start in center field as a freshman in Americus.

“I have seen the (GISA) Final Four, and I haven’t seen a better center fielder than her,” Manry said. “I think she could play for anybody. If she keeps improving, I think she will have a great chance to start as a freshman.”

Carver, a three-year starter at SGA, set the school record with 15 career home runs and never finished with a batting average lower than .471 in a season. During the Lady Warriors’ remarkable run this season, she had eight homers, 33 RBIs and a .471 batting average and only made two errors in center field.