DENHAM SPRINGS – Denham Springs softball coach Leslie Efferson-Yellot recalled her first impression of Rayne Minor.
Efferson-Yellot was then the coach at Zachary and was facing Denham Springs in a District 4-5A game when Minor entered the batter’s box for the first time.
It was the beginning of a memorable showing for Minor, a freshman at the time, who went 3-for-3 and left Zachary’s coaching staff scratching its collective head.
“We played Denham in the first round of district and she didn’t play,” Efferson-Yellot explained. “Apparently halfway through the season she started playing junior varsity and then she played varsity. I wondered where she came from. We couldn’t get her out.”
That’s seemed to be a problem for a lot of Denham Springs’ opponents. Minor went on to be named to three consecutive All-District 4-5A teams, twice earning first-team berths on the All-Parish team, where she was named the team’s Outstanding Defensive Player in 2017.
She’s also still solidly secure in her commitment to Mississippi College, a decision she made during her sophomore season, one she credits to Efferson-Yellot for remaining firm.
“I appreciate coach Leslie so much,” Minor said.
“I don’t think I would have made it as far if it wasn’t for her. She’s opened my eyes and I’ve realized a lot. I’m grateful to go and play (in college) and I definitely want to go to Mississippi College.”
There seemed to be an immediate attraction for Minor to Mississippi College, located just outside of the state’s capital in Clinton.
Minor recalled an unofficial visit opening the door to her love for the program’s coaching staff and the academic opportunities the school provided.
“I had always been looking at Mississippi College,” Minor said. “I fell in love with the coaches and I fell in love with the school. They were big in Pre-Med, which is what I’m going to major in.
“Committing there has also helped me in the classroom,” said Minor, who carries a 3.6 GPA and scored 24 on the ACT. “That was a big goal. I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard in the classroom for something until I made that decision.”
Minor expects her on-field strengths to translate to the collegiate level where Mississippi College hopes to capitalize on her ability to slap and hit away offensively.
The bigger draw with Minor is the capability for her to utilize her speed and track down almost anything gap-to-gap from her center field position.
“I think they’re looking for a lot of speed, I know they love quick outfielders,” Minor said. “If there’s an opportunity to play left or right, I wouldn’t mind that. I have experience from travel ball and I just want to get on the field.”
Efferson-Yellot looks forward to Minor being 100 percent healthy after a broken finger forced her to miss nine games down the stretch last season.
“She’s a big base stealer that hits 1-2 in the order,” she said. “She’s somebody you want on the bases as much as possible. She also catches balls in the outfield you assume would be base hits. She just runs them down with her speed, taking great angles and reading it well off the bat.”