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Hensley signs with Walters State

Unicoi County High School senior Abby Hensley didn’t need long to find the next destination of her softball career.
The Lady Blue Devil senior infielder and pitcher made things official on Thursday, Jan. 28, signing her letter of intent to play at Walters State Community College in front of family, friends and coaches.
Hensley, who batted over .500 during her junior campaign in 2015 and emerged as one of the top pitchers for the team, will be part of a successful tradition at WSCC and will be the next Lady Blue Devil part of the program. WSCC currently has former UCHS standout Brooke Strother on their roster.
“It’s not too far away from home, so I can come back and visit,” Hensley said. “I went and tried out … I really liked the campus and I’m looking forward to playing there next season. I talked to Brooke a lot during the process about the school and the coaches.”
Lady Blue Devil head coach Grady Lingerfelt had nothing but praise for Hensley, who will play an important part to the team’s upcoming season.
“You don’t get many kids like Abby,” Lingerfelt said. “She always listens, plays hard and always strives to be better. She’s a great kid on and off the field and she’s been a leader for the team.” Hensley also said it was important for her to get the signing process complete before the season begins.
“It was important for me to get it out of the way,” Hensley said. “It makes me less nervous about messing up since I’ve got a school picked. It makes me more calm about making the transition. Coach Grady is so supportive. No matter where you go, he has your back. He helped me get better and boost my confidence in the game.”
Selecting a recruit from the Valley Beautiful has become a habit, according to Lady Senator head coach Larry Sauceman.
“The players up here have always been good players and done well for us,” Sauceman said. “Anytime we get a chance to get a player from up here, I like to get up here and do what I have to do. I saw Abby a little bit, watched her play and enjoyed watching how she does things. We’re excited about having her.
“I think she’s a great student and great person. That’s something we’re always looking for. It makes my job a lot easier when you have players like that.”
Sauceman said he expects Hensley to see time at second base, but there’s always a chance to different spots when she makes the trip to Morristown.
“I didn’t see her pitching a whole lot,” Sauceman said, “but you never know.”
Sauceman’s Lady Senators recently wrapped up fall ball with high marks, giving hope for another successful season for 2016, according to Sauceman.
“This fall, we finished 11-4,” he said. “We had some good pitching, played well and I’m expecting us to have a good season this year.”
Hensley also had words of encouragement for younger teammates looking for an opportunity to play at the next level.
“Always keep working hard”, Hensley said. “Never get down on yourself and always put God first.”