High School Sports

Columbia-area sophomore is first in-state commit for Clemson softball program

Gray Collegiate pitcher Carsten Puckett committed to play softball at Clemson.
Gray Collegiate pitcher Carsten Puckett committed to play softball at Clemson. Palmetto Sports Imaging

Gray Collegiate’s Carsten Puckett will have a chance to be part of Clemson’s new softball program.­­

The sophomore verbally committed to play for the Tigers on Friday. She is the first in-state commit for the Tigers, who will begin play in 2020 under coach John Rittman.

Puckett recently attended a camp at Clemson and made an unofficial visit.

“Clemson softball is something that my family has been waiting on. Since we heard rumors of the new program starting, I knew I was going to go after a spot on that team with everything I had. It’s going to be something really special and I’m very thankful to be a part of it.," Puckett said. "Coach Rittman will be a great coach and I know Clemson is going to make sure that they have the best resources.

“I’m feeling really blessed and really lucky. I’ve worked hard and a lot of people helped me get here. I want to thank my parents. They’re happy that me and my sister Cameron will be playing softball close to each other. She’ll be at Erskine College this fall. I want to thank my coaches who have pushed me.”

The Tigers’ softball program picked up their first four signees in November – Kyndall Murray, Hannah-Jo Hyatt, Arielle Oda and Shelby Kelley. All four players are from out of state.

Puckett has been one of the most productive players in the Midlands this season and is hitting .576 with 10 homers and 40 RBIs. She also pitches and has eight wins, a 1.67 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 73 2/3 innings.