PHS’ Alyssa Gates off to Ohio Valley University for softball

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Parkersburg’s Alyssa Gates tosses a pitch during a Big Reds’ regional matchup against Hurricane earlier this year. Gates recently committed to pitch for Ohio Valley University.

PARKERSBURG — Alyssa Gates was one of eight seniors — and also one of six that started — who were integral parts in the Parkersburg High softball team’s successful season this spring.

For her efforts, Gates, mostly a pitcher for the Big Reds, but also an outfielder, second baseman and DP, is headed to Ohio Valley University to play softball in college.

After two years at Parkersburg South, followed by her last two high school years at PHS, Gates is going just up the road to OVU in Vienna for several reasons.

“Close to home is where I wanted to be and wanted to do,” said Gates. Plus, “I really like the OVU (head softball) coach (Rob Graham),” she added, “and I’ll get to play with my friends too” — namely 2017 high school grads just like her in Big Red softball teammates Kelsey Goots and Rylee Boggess.

Academically, the only child of Jenny and Shawn Gates is “going to study early education and be a kindergarten teacher,” she said.

“I’m a homebody and like to be with my family, so I had no intentions of going anywhere far away at all.”

Gates played softball both two years each at South and PHS. And when she transferred to PHS to start her junior year, it wasn’t much of a transition in softball because “I knew a bunch of people from PHS through travel ball already,” she explained. “So I already had friends at PHS, so it wasn’t very hard — and closer to my house.”

PHS head softball coach Ron Perdue has brought the Big Reds back into the limelight since taking over their reins in the last six or seven years. This past season, PHS finished 20-14 and reached the regional before bowing out to Hurricane.

“He (Perdue) did great with us; we’re so lucky to have him as a coach,” said Gates. “But I knew him from before as he was my first coach that I ever had for softball when I started playing down at Tri-C.”

This season, Gates hit .326 with four doubles, won four games and struck out 24 in 78 innings pitched, and was MSAC second-team DP.

“We knew that this year was going to be good,” said Gates. “We had a bunch of good freshmen that came up and helped us eight seniors tremendously.”

Gates had a cumulative high-school GPA of 3.5, with both perfect 4.0s the first and last terms of her senior year, and is now playing travel ball this summer.

As a mere college freshmen next year, Gates “expects” that both she and Goots “will probably get in some games because we’re pitchers.”