Southampton students accept college offersPublished 11:22am Saturday, November 23, 2013
COURTLAND—Three Southampton High School student athletes will go into their senior season already knowing where they are going to college.
Infielder Madison Cabell, 17, will play softball at St. Francis University. Short stop Hayden Spalding, 18, accepted an offer to play for the U.S. Naval Academy baseball team. Pitcher Tanner Winters, 18, will play baseball at Virginia Commonwealth University.
All three have been starting since they were freshmen, though Winters sat out last season after having Tommy John surgery.
Cabell, who plays third and first base, chose St. Francis, a Catholic school in Loretto, Pa., because of its quaintness.
“It’s the type of school where everybody knows each other,” she said. “It’s really a wonderful place.”
Cabell, who will major in criminal justice, got into softball because of her parents, Steve and Beth Cabell, and she also credits her parents for continuing it throughout her youth. Now, she has a love of the game on her own.
“It’s the team aspect,” she said. “I like that you work together to achieve a common goal.”
Softball Coach Susan Belbye said she’d be sad to see Cabell go, but that she thinks the softball player will be a good fit at St. Francis.
“She’s a spectacular athlete on the field,” Belbye said. “And she’s a role model off of it.
“I’m very proud of her. I’m proud of her selection. She found a place where she would be comfortable, so she made a great decision.”
Spalding said he was excited about the opportunity to play for a program like Navy.
“Over the summer, they saw me play in Atlanta, where there were hundreds of scouts,” he said. “They started tracking me and followed it up with an offer. They said I’d fit the system pretty well, and that I’d play right away.”
As far as what got him into baseball, Spalding credits his father, Harry Spalding, who got him started early.
“I’ve always played it since I was a little kid,” he said. “I started out playing catcher, but worked my way into the middle of the infield. I like defending there.”
Spalding said he’s ready to get into his senior season.
“The team will be younger this year, which is a challenge, but I think we have a good shot at making state,” he said.
Baseball Coach Wes Griffith said he’s proud of Spalding.
“He’s put in a lot of time and effort to get where he is,” he said. “He deserves this.”
Winters said it is a relief to have the college decision behind him, so that he can focus on his senior year.
“I went up there to a camp a few weekends ago,” he said of going to Richmond to visit VCU. “ I impressed them, and they invited me back. The coaches met with me and my family, and after that, they made an offer that I couldn’t turn down.”
He said that he’s been playing since he was 4 years old, and that he came up with Hayden Spalding.
“I’ve always loved sports, and baseball in particular for some reason,” Winters said.
As far as his last year at Southampton High School, he’s ready.
“I feel confident,” Winters said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m going to work on getting bigger and stronger. I hope to step in right away and contribute.”
Griffith said he expects big things out of Winters.
“He’s a pitcher we’ve relied on to come in and shut teams down,” he said. “He already throws it 86 miles per hour, and I expect him to get stronger and increase his velocity. He’s going to fit right in.”
Cabell has received many awards during her career. During her freshman year, she made the second all-district team. During her sophomore and freshman years, she was the district player of the year, on the first team all-district and all-region, an honorable mention for all-state. During her sophomore year, she was the team MVP. During her junior year, she was also the team’s defensive player of the year.
She also played for the Virginia Legends.
During Spalding’s freshman year, he was a member of the second team all-southside district for shortstop. During his sophomore and junior years, he was first team all district and first team all region. He was also an honorable mention for all-state shortstop both years.
Winters was a first team all district pitcher, all district first baseman, all region first baseman, second team all region pitcher, and he was the Southampton High School Pitcher of the year.
Winters did not pitch his junior year due to Tommy John surgery, but he made first team all district first baseman and second team all region first baseman. As a starter, his record is 9-0.
Spalding and Winters both played for the Richmond Braves 2014 Showcase Team.