Jett Harrell is only a junior at Lee Academy, but she was so impressed after visiting Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College that she recently announced her decision to play softball there after graduating high school in 2022.
“I grew up down there, so I have a bunch of family,” Harrell said. “I just visited the campus and I fell in love with it. It’s really pretty down there and the weather is real nice.”
Harrell’s father, grandparents and Godparents all live in MGCCC.
“They’ve always been a big part of my life,” Harrell said.
MGCCC was ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 2 in the National Junior College Athletic Association in 2019.
“I chose there to help me grow as a player,” Harrell said. “The plan after a year or two of playing there is to go play at a Division I college.”
Harrell, the No. 1 pitcher in the Fillies rotation, plans to pitch and play outfield in college.
“I’ve been picked up to be a utility player, so I’m going to hit and play everything,” she said. “It just depends on the game, I guess.”
While many pitchers in baseball and softball do not focus on hitting, as an outfielder, Harrell plans to continue excelling from the plate.
“I guess I’ll just have to double down on the work,” she said. “I’ll just do it.”
One adjustment Harrell will have to make will be playing softball in the spring. The Midsouth Association of Independent Schools plays softball in the fall.
“It’s going to be an adjustment, but I train all year round, so it won’t be that big of a deal,” Harrell said.
Harrell plays on the Blue Angels travel softball team out of Southaven in the fall and summer. Her 2020 stats were five home runs, 26 RBIs, a .370 batting average, a 1.6 ERA, seven wins and two losses on the mound.
Harrell plans to use her senior season with the Fillies to prepare for softball at MGCCC.
“I’ll keep working hard and keep working with both my coaches and get my spin down ready for the college level,” Harrell said.
As of now, Harrell said she is a good hitter and her speed is good on the mound. She said, for the college level, she has work on her spin when pitching the ball.
Harrell will only be pitching for Lee Academy for her senior year, but will have opportunity to play in the outfield with the Blue Angels.
Harrell has been pitching since she was in the eighth grade at Lee.
“I kind of got a late start actually,” she said. “There was nobody to do it and my coach (Tom Fleming) told me the best way to get on the field was to pitch. I wanted to play. I wanted to get on the field no matter what it takes. I told my mom I wanted to get pitching lessons and that’s what I did.”
Harrell was a backup pitcher until her sophomore year when she alternated with Ashlynn Smith on the mound. She was the No. 1 pitcher her junior year. She hopes, Emmy Smith, Ashlynn’s younger sister, succeeds her as the Fillies No. 1 pitcher after graduation.
She recognized how fortunate she has been to be able to play softball for the Fillies and the Blue Angels during the COVID pandemic.
“That was such a blessing for me to get to play throughout my season,” Harrell said. “I still get to practice with my team. It was such a blessing to be able to do that while a bunch of people didn’t get to.”
Harrell thanked all her coaches who are Tom Fleming and his son Taylor, who coached her in Youth Incorporated softball, her travel team coach Rose K, and Lee Academy coach Bill Taylor. She thanked her father, Todd Harrell, stepfather Sean Joyner, and mother Jennifer Joyner for all they have done for her.
Harrell said Sean Joyner was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer.
“Everything’s for him from here on out,” said Harrell, adding her stepfather has been one of her top supporters.
Harrell plans to go into business and eventually law school.