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Lambert's Guimbarda commits to Furman softball
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Lambert sophomore Marissa Guimbarda verbally committed to Furman University softball Tuesday. - photo by Micah Green

Marissa Guimbarda became a student of the recruiting process for a high school athlete. The Lambert sophomore softball pitcher and slugger followed her older brother Nick, a senior on the Longhorns’ state championship baseball team, on most of his recruiting visits to colleges before he committed and eventually signed with Presbyterian.

At every stop she took note of any number of characteristics of the school – the academics, the size, the “feel,” etc. – and compiled it into a master checklist for when she might have to make her own decision.

Content she had found a school that checked off every item, Guimbarda made a non-binding verbal commitment to Furman University on Wednesday, a Division I program that competes in the Southern Conference.

The Greenville, S.C., school offered Guimbarda the ideal situation she was looking for.

Small class sizes? Check. Furman’s student-to-teacher ratio is 11-1.

Close to Presbyterian where Nick will play college baseball? Check. The campuses are just 45 minutes apart.

Close to home? Check. Guimbarda wanted her parents to be able to visit easily to see her games.

Strong academics? Check.

“It’s one of the best educations you can get, and playing softball would just be a bonus,” Guimbarda said. “Not only do I get to continue playing the game I love for four more years, but I’ll be getting a great education as well.”

It helped that Guimbarda’s relationship with Furman softball coaches started back in the seventh grade when the Paladins staff came to Georgia to run a clinic with Guimbarda’s travel softball organization, Team Georgia.

On October 26, four years later, Furman officially offered Guimbarda. Five weeks later, Guimbarda made her commitment to the Paladins.

Guimbarda already has a noteworthy high school softball career. A two-time all-county and all-region selection, she stepped into a more prominent role on the mound this season and helped Lambert win its second straight Region 6-AAAAAA championship. She went 13-4 with a 1.63 ERA in 103 1/3 innings and hit .346 with three home runs and 30 RBI.