In addition to the seven male athletes in baseball and football who signed with colleges last week, Eastern High also had two female student-athlete standouts and state champions sign with schools.
Sophia Lange, the 2019 NCHSAA 3A state champion in the 500-yard freestyle race, will swim at NCAA Division II powerhouse Queens College, while Batista, a multi-year starter and catcher on Eastern High’s NCHSAA 3A state championship softball team, signed to take her talents to North Carolina Central University in Durham. Both held ceremonies at Eastern High on Valentine's Day to announce their respective signings.
HAILEY BATISTA (SOFTBALL - NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL UNIVERSITY)
“First, I want to thank God for waking me up every day, keeping me healthy, and also bringing everybody who has been with me in my path, guiding me this way.”
“Second, I want to thank my mom and my sister for spending countless hours at the ballfield on weekends, when they could have been doing other things. And my mom for traveling everywhere, and spending tons of money on hotel, food, gate fees to get into the tournaments and everything. And Hannah is sitting out there for twelve hours when she could be making Tik-Toks or something, or hanging out with her friends.”
“I want to thank my grandparents for picking me up every day when I needed to pick me up, especially my freshman and sophomore years. Driving me twenty minutes to take me home, and then taking me to my lessons when my mom couldn’t take me. And just taking me to my tournaments also.”
“I want to thank Coach Way for providing me the opportunity to play at Eastern Alamance High School, and for being the amazing coach he is. I want to thank Kelsey for keeping me humble and talking all the smack she does. I want to thank my teammates for having the amazing away games, being hyped and everything, just loving each other and being amazing teammates. I’m really going to really miss the bus rides.”
“I want to thank Shaina (Dabbs) and Miranda (Rodriguez of T2 Softball Training) for being with me for like five years, and pushing me to be the person I am - pushing me every week to be the best I can be has helped get me this far. And I want to thank (Eastern High star pitcher) Kenna Raye (Dark) for being my best friend.”
Hailey Batista’s Mother
“I want to thank Danny and the coaching staff for fighting for Hailey to be here at Eastern, and pushing her to her potential to be the best player she can be. I want to thank Shaina and Miranda and their family for sticking with her from the beginning - especially Miranda for pushing her to meet her goals, and really meet her potential and making her play harder when she really doesn’t want to do it.”
“I want to thank my dad and family for being there and helping me out when I’m not there to get her to her lessons or games. Just helping me out to make her a better player, and to meet her goals in getting to the college that fits her best. I just want to say thank you to everybody - her friends - and everybody that has stood behind her and pushed her to meet the goals that she has set out from the beginning.”
EAHS Head Coach Danny Way
"I could talk all day about Hailey Batista, but I’ll try to keep this a little short. She’s a three-year All-Conference, All-State player. Powerade State Games player. She’s a big leader of our team. She was a big leader in our state championship. I love Hailey Batista. We’re going to miss her."
"I remember the first day I saw her. She was in the eighth grade. She had moved up here from Florida. Her uncle said, ‘I’ve got a kid who wants to play a little bit.’ They had a league over there at Hawfields. I said, ‘Bring her on.’ I didn’t know how the kid could play or anything, and we took her in. Hailey, thank you for everything."
SOPHIA LANGE (SWIMMING - QUEENS COLLEGE)
“I’m just super stoked to finally get it in writing to swim for Queens, and everything that’s ahead of me. And being surrounded by my coaches, my teammates, my friends, and my teachers just makes the process so much more real. Finally having that recognition of the past 13 years of my life of swimming that have finally led me to this moment - I just can’t wait to see what’s going to happen in the future.”
“It’s also really, really exciting. Just meeting the team - it’s not just a team of NCAA champions, It’s a team of champions of heart, too. They’re such a great group of people. So not only am I going to be challenged physically, and brought to that next level, but also be surrounded by another family - another close-knit group that will probably make relationships that will last for the rest of my life.”
“I’ll probably be swimming the 200 butterfly and the 1,000 freestyle - that mixture of distance and butterfly that have followed me through the past couple seasons of my life. I’m super excited about that.”
Sophia Lange’s Father
“We’ve talked with Sophia when she was younger about having dreams. Her mother and I were fortunate enough to play sports. The one thing I always told Sophie was to dream.”
“There were times when things were a struggle. I’m always encouraged by her. She’s got a way of picking herself up when maybe she’s not having the best day athletically, and figuring out a way to overcome that. I can tell you - that will go far. And that’s what you need to take from this day forward.”
“We’re very proud of you, and we’re excited to see the next adventure at Queens. We’re looking forward to watching you swim.”
EAHS Head Coach Stephen Loy
“Although she won a state championship here (at Eastern Alamance), it’s probably nothing compared to what she’s getting ready to do. Queens has won the last five national championships in Division 2 swimming. So she’s probably going to be getting some big rocks when she gets there.”
“I know Queens is a great fit for her. It’s a very tight community type of setting. Her work ethic - the teachers, you all know. It’s incredible how hard she works. I’ve never seen anything like that. I wish the football players would work as hard as her. And they work hard.”