Demopolis sophomore verbally commits to Ole Miss

Abbey Latham alongside Demopolis High principal Dr. Tony Speegle after the 2014 area tournament in which she earned MVP honors.

Abbey Latham alongside Demopolis High principal Dr. Tony Speegle after the 2014 area tournament in which she earned MVP honors.

Demopolis High sophomore catcher Abbey Latham has started planning for her future after verbally committing Monday to sign with Ole Miss.

“The recruiting process, they start very early. It’s a lot different than every other sport,” Latham said. “It’s a relief. I know where I’m going. I can develop my relationship with the coaches and s tart looking at where I want to go in my education.”

20140317 DHS vs Hillcrest-6499Latham’s opportunity with Ole Miss came after she attended a camp over the weekend and impressed Rebel coach Mike Smith.

“I went to a camp this past weekend. I was invited by the coach,” Latham said. “One of them made a comment, ‘I must’ve gotten 100 texts about you.’ When I left, I had a really good feeling about my performance.”

The performance bore fruit Monday afternoon when Smith reached out to Latham with an offer.

“He said I’m a very athletic kid. He likes my size. Another big thing they liked about me is my personality,” Latham, who served as the Lady Tigers’ primary catcher during her freshman year, said. “He made a comment about trying me at first base because of my size, but I’m more of a utility player to them.”

Latham now has three seasons to hone her game for the next level, something she indicated she will take very seriously as she continues to grow in the sport.

“At the camp, they made a comment about my pop time catching,” Latham said. “I plan on working on that.”

The commitment stands as a big milestone for the Demopolis program.

“Getting more eyes on the program,” Demopolis High coach Stephen Campbell said. “We’ve had talent for years now. Abbey has put in hard work and her parent have driven her all over the United States to get that recognition. Hopefully that’ll open the doors for other girls.”

Latham got off to a slow start her freshman season but ended strong, batting .420 with 18 doubles, two homers, 28 RBIs, 28 runs scored and 24 stolen bases.

“I think coming into her freshman year, she had the freshman jitters,” Campbell said. “As she got more comfortable at the plate and more comfortable catching, she really turned it on. At the end of the season, she was one of the toughest outs in the state.”

Latham highlights a young Demopolis roster with only two seniors, leaving Campbell and his assistants to believe that the Class of 2017 will be a star-studded one

“I don’t believe she is going to be the last one,” the Demopolis coach said. “We have other kids that will get college looks.”

Latham was Honorable Mention All-State in 2014 as well as a member of the West Alabama Watchman All-County Team. She is the daughter of Jeff and Melissa Latham.