Saugus softball’s McKenna Gibson and Gracie Keene have already made history with University of Tennessee softball, and neither of them have had a single at-bat yet.
The two made their commitment to play college softball for the Volunteers on Tuesday, and they did so at the same time and on the same phone.
“We told (the coaches) we really loved the campus and we wanted to commit there,” Gibson said. “They were so happy and excited for us to go there and they haven’t ever had two people commit on the same phone call.”
Gibson and Keene are both freshmen who will be playing for the Centurions this season and also play together on the So Cal Choppers 16U Ziese team.
Gibson predicts that their friendship will ease the transition to college life and softball significantly. The two are already planning on rooming together.
“I personally think it’s going to be easier for me,” she said. “And kind of knowing that if I made a mistake, one of my good friends probably made that mistake too, so I won’t be the only one getting in trouble.”
The early commitment seemed natural to both Gibson, who plays third base, and Keene, who plays first base.
“I’ve been sending emails to colleges since I was in the 7th grade,” Keene said. “When it comes to the University of Tennessee, how could I have possibly turned down their offer?”
The Vols competed in their 14th consecutive NCAA tournament last season and hosted an NCAA Regional and Super Regional. They were third in the SEC regular-season standings.
The Saugus tandem will join Ally Shipman, who is entering her senior campaign with Valencia, at Tennessee when they begin their collegiate careers.
“Knowing that I also have another player that I’m going to be with in Tennessee, that’s really cool too,” said Gibson. “Knowing her and how good she is of a player, I know (it’ll be nice) that in college I’ll be able to play with her instead of against her.”