When Mallorie Black made the call to her grandparents that she had verbally committed to play softball at their alma mater, Georgia Tech, “they were ecstatic,” she said. So were her uncles, who also went to Tech.
The North Forsyth rising sophomore made the commitment to the Yellow Jackets this past Saturday.
“It made my family happy that I choose Tech,” Black said.
Black choose Georgia Tech for its academic reputation, proximity to home and a gut feeling after meeting new head coach Aileen Morales. But her decision wasn’t as predictable as her family’s pedigree might suggest.
The Yellow Jackets were on Black’s radar since last spring when former head coach Shelly Hoerner extended a scholarship offer. Hoerner’s contract wasn’t renewed in May, and for a month Black didn’t know where she stood with the Yellow Jackets.
In the meantime, Black became more and more interested in Florida State University.
“I was dead-set on Florida State,” Black said.
Until Georgia Tech hired Morales, a decorated player and assistant coach with the Yellow Jackets program.
Black began to notice Morales come to watch her games with her travel team, the East Cobb Bullets. And when Black made an unofficial visit to the Atlanta campus last week, she felt a certainty about her future she couldn’t shake.
“I definitely knew that I wanted to commit to the best coach I could find,” Black said. “…As soon as I met (Morales), I knew I wanted to play for her. She definitely wants to have a winning program. She made that very clear. She explained how Georgia Tech can get back to the top of the ACC. That was really cool to me.”
Black won’t be able to sign a letter of intent until fall 2019, but Georgia Tech would get one of the more promising underclassmen in the area. As a freshman last season, Black played shortstop and some outfield and hit .367 (27-for-74) with eight doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs as the Raiders’ lead-off hitter.
Black would join a Yellow Jackets softball program looking to reset after going 19-34 overall and 8-16 in the ACC last season. Georgia Tech is counting on better things from Morales, who played there from 2005-08 and was an assistant coach from 2009-13 – seasons Black and her family are very familiar with.
“My family, they always were very lenient, like, ‘It’s your decision to play softball in college. We want you to have fun,’” Black said. “They were very supportive of Florida State. They wanted me to go there also.
“But they were very excited I choose Georgia Tech.”