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Perry headed to UT-Southern

Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2024 at 2:30 pm

Claire Perry signed her letter of intent earlier this spring to continue her softball career at UT-Southern. (Photo courtesy of David Smith)

Perry was a staple of the Lady Champion infield and spent the majority of her senior season playing second base. (Post Photo by Chris Siers)

Claire Perry has played softball for most of her life.
Her love for the game has never wavered, from he earliest days playing at the Hillard-Gardner league, to joining travel ball in fourth grade, all the way through her scholastic career playing at Cascade.
“I’ve played ever since I could remember. I played at Hillard-Gardner. One of my coaches coached me from when I was four years old until sixth grade. When I was in fourth grade, I started playing travel ball. I’ve always loved it,” she said.
That life-long path of playing softball eventually led to her signing to continue her career at the collegiate level playing at UT-Southern, beginning this fall.
“It’s kind of crazy. I remember the first signing I went to for a senior on the team was Cenzie McAnally, I thought it was such a far-fetched thing. As I got older, I realized this was a real thing I could do,” Perry said.
“I told the team it doesn’t doesn’t feel real.”
While the surreal feeing of putting pen to paper and making it official may have felt unreal, Perry’s performance at a tournament at UT-Southern’s campus, as well as her versatility playing multiple positions over the years, made her a perfect if fit for the Firebirds.
“Whenever I played in my tournament there, I played outfield for like the first time in three years. They kind of saw me as a utility player. I’ve played everywhere, except pitcher and catcher. If I needed to play somewhere else, I could,” she said.
Her versatility in the field was only part of the equation.
After meeting the coaching staff and touring the facility, Perry knew where her college career would take her.
“Whenever I went to a tournament I played in at UT-Southern, I just loved the coaches and a nice facility. I’ve been here since kindergarten and I’ve always wanted to go to a smaller school. They said about 80% of their students are student-athletes. So professors work with them really well,” she said.
While she’s been part of special teams over her 14-plus years playing, when it comes down to it, her years spent with the Lady Champions in the dugout, joining in the cheers and playing the spring grind of a busy schedule ranks among her favorite memories.
“It has to be when we’re in the dugout with the school ball team. It just gets crazy and we’re screaming at the top of our lungs,” she said.
Perry plans to pursue a degree in business.
UT-Southern is a NAIA school and competes in the Southern States Athletic Conference.
During the 2024 season, UT-Southern posted a 26-22 overall record.