Southwest Tennessee Community College softball coach Keith Gentry has recruited Tipton County players since he got the job 15 years ago.
The list of players over the years from Brighton, Covington and Munford high schools is very long, but the 2019-20 team is unique in that it will include a player from each of the three Tipton County high schools for the first time since 2009.
That wasn't going to be the case until Ta'mya Johnson, a 2018 Brighton graduate who was a standout player during all four of her seasons, recently announced she was transferring from Delta State University to Southwest.
Gentry said it's pretty rare that he signs a player from a four-year school.
"Her strength is her speed in the outfield," Gentry said of Johnson, who played centerfield and hit leadoff for some very good Lady Cardinal teams. "Another thing she's got going for her is her experience. She played in a very tough conference at Delta State."
In 46 games last season at Delta State she hit .264 with seven doubles, four homers and 32 RBIs and was named the team's newcomer of the year.
Speaking of experience, 2018 Munford graduate MaKayla Pugh has plenty of it after a stellar freshman season at Southwest. She hit .378 with 12 doubles, 12 homers and 53 RBIs and slugged .669. Her homer total tied for the team lead and included a three-homer game.
Pugh was an all-conference catcher and was the conference player of the week twice.
She will be joined this year by former high school teammate Jasmine Fayne, who will be a freshman this year at Southwest.
Fayne batted .292, slugged .569, drove in 22 and hit four homers during her senior season at Munford.
Brooke Johnson will represent Covington High School as a freshman this season. She hit nine homers, drove in 45 and served as one of Covington's top pitchers last season, helping the Lady Chargers to another district title and an appearance in the sectionals.
Southwest won 29 games last season, the program's highest total since 2012. Gentry is optimistic this year's team could be better and the Tipton County talent is a big reason why.
"We were going to be pretty good without Ta'mya and now we should be even better," Gentry said. "I'm glad to be getting players from Tipton County. Some of the best players I've ever had have been from there."