The path to success for many softball players begins before they start grade school.
It did not happen that way for Michelle Davenport. In fact, the recent graduate of Port Allen High School had not touched a softball when she joined the team her freshman year.
Four years later, the sport she embraced during her freshman year paved the way to college.
Davenport signed a full scholarship with Coahoma Community College, north of Clarksdale in northwestern Mississippi.
As first-team All-District 8-2A centerfielder/utility player and co-captain for the Lady Pels, she finished the season with a .426 batting average, 40 runs, 43 hits, 35 RBIs and 10 home runs. She had an on-base percentage of 55 percent.
Davenport credits head coach Alisha Butler Fairchild for her leap from beginner as a freshman to college signee as a senior.
“She taught me so much and I was blessed to have her stay with us all four years,” Davenport said. “I came a long way by having her as a coach, especially since I had never imagined myself playing softball, much less landing a scholarship.”
Fairchild, meanwhile, said Davenport earned her success through a strong work ethic and a willingness to learn.
“Michelle is what I would consider the definition of a student-athlete who buys into the process,” Fairchild said. “She’s the definition of a female athlete who buys into the process, and who also believes in what their coach says, regardless of what she thinks and regardless of her insecurities and what her teammates think.
“She is willing to put that aside because she truly understands who the expert is in the process,” she said. “Michelle is the definition of a female athlete who buys into the process and who also believes what their coach says, regardless of what she thinks.”
Davenport finished high school with a 3.0 grade point average.
She led by example throughout high school, which landed her the Port Allen High School Leadership Award, voted by coaches and teammates, Fairchild said.
“Michelle had to work for her grades and never thought she was better than anyone else,” Fairchild said. “She never thought she was better than anyone … I couldn’t be prouder.”