Both players had coaches, both current and future, as well as a host of family members and their softball teammates on hand to show their support.
“It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders because I’ve always told my family, like my mom, that I wanted to play in college and I finally got to make that come true and I feel accomplished,” Garrett said.
Rainwater and Garrett indicated having completed the signing was a relief.
“I’m excited,” Garrett said. “I’m glad I got it over with before my senior season so I won’t have to worry about it while I’m playing.”
“Now I know for sure that I will play at the next level and don’t have to stress about it my whole senior year,” she said.
Both Rainwater and Garrett cited Central Alabama’s close proximity to home, as well as having a strong softball program as motivating factors for their signings.
“Breanna plays middle infield for us and she’s a very smart player,” Childersburg softball head coach Hillary Downs said. “She’s got it mentally and to me, if you have it mentally then the physical stuff is going to come. So, I have no doubt about her success at the college level. Haley plays outfield for us and she’s very sharp. She’s a slap hitter, fast, runs the bases well, has a good arm, gets good angles, just all-around, both of them are just really good athletes.”
But Downs thinks the transition to the next level will be seamless for both players, because beyond their athleticism, both players have high sports IQs.
“They’re fast learners,” Downs said. “They pick up on things quickly. If I want them to change a specific thing, then it’s fixed and I generally don’t have to say anything else. It’s done. Of course, other habits will form and you fix those as they come. But they have a pretty steep learning curve and they figure things out quickly on their own.”
Central Alabama softball head coach Greg Shivers was in attendance for the ceremony. He feels fortunate to be adding both players to next year’s team and beyond their skills on the field, has been impressed with their off-field character.
“Haley is a great outfielder,” he said. “Hopefully, she can be able to get on base for us, she’s got some speed. First of all, they’re both great people. I’m very glad to have them. They’re great students, great student-athletes. Like I said, we’re very pleased to have both of them. Breanna, she’s just a great athlete, plays multiple positions. We’re looking forward to both of them being in the lineup and doing what they’re capable of. We think they both have high ceilings and have room to improve. Nothing but good things about them have been said. Like I said, I think they’re great people and I think they’ll fit in real well.”
Because coach Downs went to Central Alabama during her playing days and was coached by coach Shivers, she was able to offer encouragement when Garrett asked about the program.
“I told her I had nothing bad to say about it, I loved it, I enjoyed it, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world,” Downs said. “Haley had committed before I had even taken the job as coach here, but me and Breanna talked about it on a couple of occasions. I told her she wouldn’t be disappointed with her choice if she chose Central Alabama and I stand by that. I still think she’ll be happy.”
With so many family members in attendance, they were insistent on thanking their families, mentioning that being close to family was a strong consideration when making their college decision.
“I really want to thank my family for always being there for me,” Rainwater said. “They’ve traveled all over everywhere for me and I just want to thank them.”
“I want to also thank my family and my past coaches,” Garrett said.
“All of our coaches,” they said in unison.