MARTINSVILLE — Patrick Henry Community College sophomore Mikayah Pulliam signed her letter of intent Wednesday to continue her softball career at NCAA Division II Concord University in the fall.

Pulliam, a Tunstall High School graduate, is a two-year starter for the Patriots as a catcher and utility player. She’s hitting .313 with nine runs scored and seven RBIs in 11 games so far this season.

Concord is a four-year public university in Athens, West Virginia. The Mountain Lions play in the Mountain East Conference and are 5-2-1 this season.

“As soon as I stepped on the campus I just felt so at home,” Pulliam said of her choosing Concord. “I love the atmosphere; everyone was so nice there, and I just felt like I could literally go there tomorrow and feel at home and be comfortable.”

Pulliam is hoping the close-knit bond she’s formed with her team at PHCC carries over to her new school.

“I’ve learned how to be a family with everybody here,” she said. “Just being here and being so close to everybody all the time, it’s just a great feeling. I want this kind of relationship with my team next year.”

Pulliam put more emphasis in the weight room this offseason, and it’s shown at the plate. She’s hit two home runs so far this season after failing to hit any all of last year.

The focus on weight training, stepping up her game at the plate and defensively was just part of the ways Patriots head coach Robbi Campbell has seen Pulliam improve in her two years at PHCC.

“Maturity. Oh my goodness, the maturity level has went up 100%,” Campbell said. “She’s very vocal, but it went from night to day. She has went from a freshman and just starting college and really liking it to maturing and understanding what it takes to go to the next level, and it’s paying off today.

“Her attitude, it’s focused on everything: grades, it’s focused on the softball part of it and just being a good person. That’s one thing we teach out here, just be a good person. She’s awesome. She’s an awesome kid.”

Campbell expects his player to shine at the next level.

“I see a lot of power coming from her. I see a lot of confidence,” he said. “The more confidence she gets the better she’s going to be. That’s the one thing she didn’t really lack but she just didn’t have a lot of, and now I see a lot of confidence. I see it bubbling out of her and two years from now I see her leading in the division where she’s going because she’s that type of kid.”

In Campbell’s five years at PHCC, every one of his players who has graduated from the school in two years has transferred to a four-year school, whether that was to continue to playing softball or just continue their education.

Pulliam’s signing was an especially happy day for Campbell, Pulliam and the program.

“It’s everything to me,” Campbell said. “I’ve actually told all the sophomores this is the best time of year for me. And everybody thinks it’s because softball season starts, and that’s some of it, but it’s because it’s when the college coaches start talking to my sophomores, and to me it’s a pride thing. It really makes me feel good that I’m a little small piece of where they’re going. We’re just the middle-men here, but it’s a pride thing. It makes me feel really good.

“This is what it’s about. Wins and losses come and go, and in 10 years nobody cares about wins and losses. We’re worried about where did they go, and it also helps me with recruiting as well. When people start seeing this, it’s a really good recruiting thing.

“I like seeing Mikayah smiling, I like seeing her happy, and all of them. I feel like all the freshmen, all the sophomores, that’s the main goal.”

“It’s so special,” Pulliam said after posing for a photo with the rest of her team. “It’s just great.”

Parker Cotton is a sports reporter at the Martinsville Bulletin and Danville Register & Bee. You can reach him at (276) 638-8801 ext. 215. Follow @ByParkerCotton. 

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