Quarles recently signed a scholarship with the school. She was one of Cedar Bluff’s top hitters last season, batting .424 with 14 doubles, a triple and a home run. The left fielder also stole 20 bases, had 16 walks, scored 33 runs and had 26 RBIs for the Lady Tigers (15-17), who made their first North Regional Softball appearance under head coach Shane McFry.
“I’m just excited to still be playing,” Quarles said. “After high school, a lot of people don’t play anymore. I’m sad about leaving Cedar Bluff because I was looking forward to doing some more big things, but I know this team is going to do really well. They’ll probably go back to regionals and take it to state.”
Quarles is McFry’s first softball player to sign a scholarship. He said he’s proud of the opportunity Quarles has in front of her.
“The thing about Suzie is she’s real goal-oriented,” McFry said. “Most kids don’t really know what they want, but she has a good idea of what she wants out of life and out of school. I think she’ll be able to achieve it if she keeps at it.
“I’m just as proud of her as I would be if it were my own daughter. Suzie’s gotten this opportunity, and we’re tickled to death for her. We’re proud to see her go on and hope to see her do good things and be able to make something for her future.”
Quarles visited Tuskegee last November and felt comfortable with the environment. Making her even more comfortable was Tuskegee coach Edward Colvin’s plans to have Quarles contribute quickly, along with making her No. 3 jersey available.
“He (Colvin) asked me all the positions I’ve played, and I told him I played mostly in the outfield,” Quarles said. “I told him how I’ve played a little first and third. He was like ‘Oh, that’s good.’ Everybody on the infield graduated except his pitcher. Most of the freshmen coming in are going to play on the infield, but he told me he’s probably going to keep me in the outfield.”
McFry said he’s spoken to Colvin about Quarles on a couple of occasions. He said Colvin wants to put Quarles in a position to be successful.
“Suzie’s main attribute is she swings the bat really well,” McFry said. “She’s got real quick hands. I think they’ll find that will be her biggest asset. She has a real good arm for an outfielder, so maybe she can get down there, win her a spot and be successful in that role.”
While he’s sad to see Quarles leave, McFry said she’s left a good mark on the Cedar Bluff softball program.
“Losing Suzie will be big for us,” he said. “She provided a lot of leadership for us this year. She’s really come around the last couple of years and developed into a real fine player for us.
“We lost three fine seniors (Lindsey Lambert, Tabitha Combs and Haley Haney) the year before. Everybody expected us to take a step down and really be a couple of years away from contending on a higher level, but due in part to Suzie stepping up and being a major player, we were able to arrive a little bit early. Hopefully we can maintain that going forward.”