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GC’s Burress will catch, not pitch at UMO

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SNOW HILL — Due to sheer need in middle school, Greene Central High’s Hannah Burress became a pitcher. She hasn’t backed off that leadership mantle during the first three years of her prep career.

“I’ve just been doing it ever since then,” she said.

And Burress, with her self-professed “bossy” demeanor, hasn’t been too shabby in that regard for head coach Kim Jones.

As a junior, Burress amassed the balance of Greene Central’s 20-6 record and led the Lady Rams to a share of the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference title.

But it’s her plight on the weekends during travel softball that has prepared her for her next step as a college athlete. On Nov. 9 inside the Greene Central media center, Burress affixed her signature to a National Letter of Intent to catch, not pitch, for the University of Mount Olive.

She chose the Lady Trojans of NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas over interest from Div. III Pfeiffer University, Pitt Community College and Salem College.

“Mount Olive is really right down the road, and it’s really like an hour away,” Burress said in a telephone interview Thursday afternoon. “So my parents would be able to come to my games and everything. The school just seems like a good school to go to. It’s a Christian school, and that kind of hits close to home. The coaches seem really nice too, and that’s another reason I chose to play there instead of somewhere else.”

In seventh grade, Burress, the daughter of Brad and Jackie Burress of Snow Hill, volunteered to become the face in the circle for Greene County Middle School after a lack of options surfaced at the position. However, with the Johnston County Clippers on weekends, Burress, for the past 10 years, has honed the craft that will prepare her for Division II softball.

“It’s a dream come true,” Burress said. “I’ve been dreaming about this since I was 10 years old. I think it will be a good experience.”

Offensively, Burress hit .469 as a junior with 28 RBIs, 14 doubles and three home runs as a junior at Greene Central.

She ranks her mental approach to calling a game behind the plate as ready for the next level. However, physical improvement, such as speed and leg strength, is yet to come.

“I think I’m mentally ready to go to college right now,” Burress said. “I know the game just as good as anybody, so I think that’s one aspect that will really help me in transitioning into college.”

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