June 30, 2016

Mostly clear

College signing: Paradise picks Lees-McRae

MEDINA — There was no official visit before Medina’s Megan Paradise signed her letter of intent with Lees-McRae College.

All it took was one softball game during an unofficial visit to the North Carolina school, where the right-hander had a chance to play with her future teammates.

As a result, the Bees’ star pitcher chose Division II Lees-McRae over the likes of Concord University and Queens University.

“I like the area and the people,” Paradise said. “It’s a small town, a small school. I like everything about it. I’ve been there twice and got to know the girls. They were really nice and were very welcoming.”

After a year behind 2012 Gazette MVP Bobbi Langlois, Paradise came into her own last season in leading Medina to a 23-8 mark and second straight Division I regional final (the Bees reached the state semifinals two seasons ago).

Last year as a junior, Paradise led Medina County in wins (20) and in innings pitched (166) and finished second in winning percentage (.769), third in ERA (1.94) and fifth in strikeouts (82).

It’s that winning spirit she hopes to bring to a Lees-McRae team that won only seven games last season.

“I’ve got a good attitude,” Paradise. “I’m always willing to do what the coach wants me to do and I’ll do whatever I can.

“I’m going to bring what I learned from high school to college. I can show them what I learned and they can show me what they learned, so we can share the experience.”

Paradise is headed to a team where one senior pitcher will turn the ball over to three hurlers, who are currently freshman. Two of those pitchers are also position players, so the opportunity to play right away is there.

That’s something that got the attention of Paradise, though she’s open to doing whatever coach Merritt Yackey asks.

“He said he looks for well-rounded people who can play the game, get good grades and have fun,” said Paradise, who plans to major in psychology. “He wants players who are willing to try anything. I’m going there as a pitcher, but who knows, I might end up as a shortstop.

“I’m not nervous. I want to go there, do my best and see what happens. To me, it’s a privilege. I didn’t even know if I would get the chance to play [in college].”

Contact Brad Bournival at sports@medina-gazette.com.