November 15, 2012 

A handful of local athletes, three from Russell County and one from Harris County, signed their names to letters-of-intent on the first day of the early signing period Wednesday.

Harris County's Haley Powell signed to play tennis at Mercer University beginning in the fall of 2013.

Powell is ranked No. 20 out of 406 girls 18 and under in the state by the United States Tennis Association. She also holds a Southern ranking of No. 128 out of 1,343 girls. The latter ranking includes athletes from nine different states.

Powell said that the scholarship is a reward for the work that she's put in both athletically and academically.

"Each week, I play about six out of the seven days, and I practice 2-2½ hours a day," she said. "And that's not always just time on the court -- that includes fitness training outside of that."

The fitness training encompasses anything from running to agility drills to help with the endurance that is needed to succeed on the court.

Powell said she chose Mercer over a couple of other opportunities because she liked the campus and because it offered what she was looking for academically. She wants to go into dermatology and will be pre-med at the school, which she said offered a strong program.

"… And then I found out they had a tennis team, which is something I wanted to do in college," she said.

Three Warriors

Three members of the Russell County baseball, which went to the Class 5A quarterfinals last season signed Division I letters: Hunter Webb with Alabama, Anfernee Grier with Auburn and Jesse Nelson with Troy.

Webb, a second baseman, batted .408 with two homers, five doubles, three triples and 19 RBIs.

Grier, a shortstop, batted .380 with 12 homers, 12 doubles, three triples and 45 RBIs.

Nelson, a pitcher, went 7-2 with a 1.50 ERA with 100 strikeouts.

-- Kevin Price contributed to this report

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