McKissick catching on with the BulldogsPublished 7:30pm Tuesday, August 13, 2013
After years of tearing apart high school pitching Washington’s Justyce McKissick will look to duplicate her success on the collegiate level next year as the recently graduated Pam Pack star received a partial scholarship to play softball for coach Junior Baily at Pitt Community College.
The one catch for McKissick is that she will have to relearn how to catch.
McKissick spent a majority of her varsity career at first base, however, PCCC’s need for a catcher combined with McKissik’s desire to play college ball and led to her signing with the Bulldogs in what should be a mutually beneficial agreement.
For the past three years McKissick has been a force in the middle of the Pam Pack’s lineup as she was named the WDN Position Player of the Year as a sophomore before earning two consecutive WDN All-Area first team honors.
Last season, the Washington slugger hit .425 with three home runs and drove in a team-high 32 RBIs to help power the Pack to the fourth round of the playoffs.
The college opportunities figured to be in abundance, however, McKissick’s grades created limited options, so when she heard the Bulldogs where looking for a catcher she figured she would give it a shot.
“My GPA stopped me from going to a lot of places,” McKissick said. “I heard they needed a catcher so I went to talk to (Bailey) and he was cool and nice. I got a good vibe so I hope things go good.”
McKissick has played catcher before on her travel ball teams when she was younger but said that getting back behind the plate was a big adjustment.
“It was way different,” McKissick said. “It’s something that I’m going to have to go back and adjust to again. … I just had to relearn a lot of things. I felt like I did OK considering.”
Washington softball coach Doug Whitehead, who has always praised McKissick’s softball savvy, said he was confident she could make the transition.
“She knows the game and I know she knows how to setup pitchers,” Whitehead said. “In some of our games this year we were in certain situations where we ended up basically letting her call (pitches). She would (stand at first base) and give some signals to the catcher and the catcher would pass it on to the pitcher.
“She knows how to call a game and she knows where to place pitches and what to do with batters and their tendencies and what they’ve done. I think she will do great.”
McKissick’s parents, Elizabeth and Chris McKissick, where thrilled to see Justyce continue her education and athletic career.
“It’s great,” Chris said. “She’s taking it to another level and she will get a good education, that’s the main thing.”
Elizabeth said the move marks Juystce’s growth as a person and a player.
“My whole thing with her senior year in high school was seeing her grow as a person, not necessarily a ball player,” Elizabeth said. “She grew as a team player and I’m eager to see that continue in college.”