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Ohatchee’s Ellie Carden (right) celebrates signing Thursday to play softball for Gadsden State Community College with friends (from left) Brylie Myer, Kiana Garber and Breanna Martin, all wearing T-shirts that spell out Carden’s nickname. (Photo by Joe Medley)
Ohatchee’s Ellie Carden (right) celebrates signing Thursday to play softball for Gadsden State Community College with friends (from left) Brylie Myer, Kiana Garber and Breanna Martin, all wearing T-shirts that spell out Carden’s nickname. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Ohatchee, AL – Ohatchee slap-hit master Carden makes good with chance to play softball beyond high school, signs with Gadsden State Community College.

By Joe Medley

The moment of Ellie Carden’s signing to play softball for Gadsden State Community College sent her high school coach back six years.

When Carden was a seventh-grader, Ohatchee coach Kendall Poe suggested to her dad that Ellie should learn to slap hit. Wayne Carden set about getting his daughter lessons.

Lessons cost money, but patience is free.

“I don’t think she touched a ball for three years,” Poe said. “It was a rough time, and he said, ‘Poe, I don’t think we need to do this.’ I said, ‘Just stick with it. She’s gonna get it.’

“Now, she’s so good at it, Ellie could probably place it anywhere on the field.”

Ellie Carden slapped her way to a slap-happy day and celebrated during Thursday’s ceremony to mark her signing in Ohatchee High’s library.

Attendees included Carden’s fan club, of sorts. Based on her nickname, Brylie Myer, Kiana Garber and Breanna Martin came in gray T-shirts, specially made with Carden’s picture on front and one word up top. When the three stood side-by-side in the right order, they spelled out, “Ellie Belly Button.”

“It came from a show,” Carden said. “Somebody was called ‘Ellie Belly,’ and they added ‘Button’ to it. It started in volleyball season, and they just kept it going.”

Carden will join several Calhoun County-based players in Gadsden State’s revived softball program, and Carden is an all-county player. She batted .408 with a .480 on-base percentage as a junior. She also stole 17 bases in 17 tries.

When new Gadsden State coach Ryan Clark called to establish contact with area coaches, Poe sold Carden.

“I didn’t give him a chance to even put his phone down,” she said. “I said, ‘I’ve got one for you right now. You need to check this kid out.’”

Carden relished the chance.

“It’s close to home, and I wanted to keep playing sports, and it’s a good campus,” she said.

Ohatchee’s Ellie Carden (right) celebrates signing Thursday to play softball for Gadsden State Community College with friends (from left) Brylie Myer, Kiana Garber and Breanna Martin, all wearing T-shirts that spell out Carden’s nickname. (Photo by Joe Medley)
Ohatchee’s Ellie Carden (right) celebrates signing Thursday to play softball for Gadsden State Community College with friends (from left) Brylie Myer, Kiana Garber and Breanna Martin, all wearing T-shirts that spell out Carden’s nickname. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Ohatchee’s Ellie Carden with the signing-day cake that features the Gadsden State Community College logo Thursday at Ohatchee High School. (Photo by Joe Medley)
Ohatchee’s Ellie Carden with the signing-day cake that features the Gadsden State Community College logo Thursday at Ohatchee High School. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Ohatchee’s Ellie Carden puts pen to paper during Thursday’s ceremony to mark her signing with Gadsden State Community College. (Photo by Joe Medley)
Ohatchee’s Ellie Carden puts pen to paper during Thursday’s ceremony to mark her signing with Gadsden State Community College. (Photo by Joe Medley)

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