E.A. Sports Today

Signing a slugger

Lincoln third baseman Mullinax will take the ample experience gathered from all her coaches to Montevallo after signing with the Falcons today

Carlee Mullinax (seated center) and her friends do a Mannequin Challenge after the Lincoln third baseman signed scholarship papers to play softball at Montevallo.

Carlee Mullinax (seated center) and her friends do a Mannequin Challenge after the Lincoln third baseman signed scholarship papers to play softball at Montevallo.

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By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

LINCOLN (Nov. 16) – Carlee Mullinax made sure to thank all the people who helped make her signing with Montevallo on Wednesday possible.

The list included her family, teammates, teachers and trainers and, of course, her coaches – all of them. And there have been a lot.

Lincoln’s hard-hitting senior third baseman counted up all the head coaches she has ever played for in her softball career and between travel ball and high school had to go with a third hand.

It was such an extensive list that if she individually named them all her teammates who filed into the gym for the mid-afternoon signing ceremony might not have ever gotten back to class after doing their Mannequin Challenge.

When Mullinax joins the Falcons’ relatively new program next year, Lindsay Vanover will be her 13th coach — and that doesn’t count her dad. She is on her third coach this school year at Lincoln and fourth over the last two seasons having moved over from Wellborn.

“It is kind of hard switching between coaches because they all have different aspects to them,” she said. “It really doesn’t matter who it is; I look at it as a team perspective. You give us somebody who doesn’t even know softball and us girls know enough to put in the work that we can come around having different coaches.”

Mullinax and her parents have discussed the possibility of a coaching change while she is at college and history has prepared them for it.

“We want both of them to stay,” she said. “I’ve been through so many that I understand if it doesn’t happen it’s OK.”

The number of coaches she’s run through is more a product of the number of teams she’s played for than anything else. Mullinax said she has picked up “a little something” from each of them on her way to becoming a feared hitter and three-time Player of the Year over two counties the past three seasons.

“Each coach has taught me something; coach (Shea) Monroe (the current Lincoln coach), he’s taught me stuff already,” she said. “And even if it’s not softball, they’ve taught life lessons each place because there’s a different story.”

Mullinax started her high school career at Wellborn, where she twice was Calhoun County Player of the Year. She transferred to Lincoln last year (with three Wellborn teammates) and was the Talladega County Player of the Year.

Wellborn coach Brenda Vinson was among those at the head table helping Mullinax celebrate her big day.

“She was my first actual coach,” Mullinax said. “We had a very good bond and I was glad she could make it today. I was going out of the house yesterday when she texted me back (to RSVP). I left my phone book and my lunch at home because I was reading it and got so excited.”

Mullinax takes a .436 career batting average into a senior season filled with high expectations. She has 260 hits, 74 doubles, 24 homers, 170 runs scored and 202 RBIs. Her season average had risen every year before last season and that would have been a tough sell since she hit nearly.500 the year before.

And it’s all been a product of hard work. She’d often spend hours in extra practice after her formal workouts were through.

“Every night me and my dad would go to the field and we’d hit and we’d just have fun,” she said.

Mullinax won’t be the last player with Calhoun County ties in the Falcons’ signing class this year. Oxford outfielder Haley Liner is expected to sign with them later this winter.

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