Scarlette Box doesn’t even think about it anymore. She just gets in the car and drives to watch her daughter play softball wherever the road leads.
Currently, that road leads to Tulsa, Okla., where Rachel Box plays for the Oklahoma Diamond Girls. Box, this year’s Southeast Arkansas Hitter of the Year, may be forcing her mom to go a different direction after graduation next year as the White Hall slugger is entertaining offers to play college softball, including for current national champion Alabama.
“I went to Alabama’s camp last fall,” Box said. “They have such a great program. Being there inspired me to become a better player … to work harder. From then on that’s what I’ve done.”
But Box’s goals started earlier in life. As a young athlete, she cruised through her youth organizations before landing at the high school level with the Lady Bulldogs, whom she helped win a Class 5A state title this year, the first in school history.
As she matured, she continued to set new goals. With many of those earlier plateaus now met, college aspirations have now become the focal point.
“I have had contact from a bunch of colleges,” Box said. “I am ready to know what my future holds. I have some showcases this summer and hopefully we will know something before school starts again.”
While her path is not obvious, her abilities are crystal clear. Box finished her junior campaign with a .459 batting average, clipping senior teammate Haley Baugh by a mere two points for the team lead. She also led the team in doubles (11), home runs (10) and RBIs (43). She scored 33 runs and had a blistering .941 slugging percentage. In four state tournament games, she hit .364 with a double, triple and three RBIs.
And it still doesn’t satisfy her mission.
“I have to keep working hard and preparing,” she said. “I have to keep working to keep those numbers. That’s what drives me. I never want to get out. I want to get on base every time I bat. That’s my goal. That’s what drives me to get a scholarship.”
And with a .505 on base percentage, Rachel driving to get a scholarship may be easier than Scarlette driving to watch her play.
White Hall coach Terri Smith said Box had all the tools necessary to compete at that next level.
“She has a good eye for the ball and rarely gets fooled and swings at bad pitches,” Smith said. “And she has such a great work ethic. She does whatever it takes. She puts the ball in play, whether she gets on or not. She has a great attitude. She likes to have fun but she takes it very seriously.”
Box is entertaining offers from practically every school in Arkansas as well as the likes of Alabama and Ole Miss. And while her goal is to play at the Division I level, she would accept the best possible offer from the best possible school.
Box credits her hitting prowess to her hitting instructor, Pat Harrison. Box travels to Bryant weekly to take lessons, something she has done since the age of 9.
“He is the reason.” Box said matter of factly. “He has taught me so much.”