STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Mississippi State softball team has added three players to its 2014 fall roster with Demi Blaker, Carmen Carter and Cassady Knudsen joining the program. Blaker (Bay St. Louis, Miss./Our Lady Academy), Carter (Madison, Miss./Madison Ridgeland Academy) and Knudsen (Pleasant Hill, Iowa/Southeast Polk) will begin attending Mississippi State as freshmen in August.
Blaker is a six-year letterwinner at Our Lady Academy and has claimed six all-district honors. The varsity team’s five-time most valuable player, Blaker has received five Sun Herald All-South Mississippi Team selections and a pair of Clarion Ledger Top-Ten Performer honors. The pitcher/infielder was named to the 2013 3A all-state squad and was selected to play for the West team in the 2013 Gulf Coast Futures All-Star Game. A three-time Sun Herald Player of the Week and 2013 1A/2A/3A South All-Star, Blaker led the league in batting average as a junior and in RBI as a senior.
Away from softball, Blaker does volunteer work at the South Mississippi Regional Center and is an assistant coach for her younger brother Brody’s baseball team. During the holiday season, Blaker volunteers to deliver meals to the needy and throughout the year she serves at the local nursing home and helps with Buddy Ball activities for special-needs children.
“As soon as I stepped on campus I knew that’s where I wanted to be,” Blaker said. “I know I have great academic possibilities there. I love the coaching staff, and I absolutely love the girls I’ll be playing with.”
Carter, an outfielder/infielder was a four-time all-state and all-conference selection at Madison Ridgeland Academy. She was named a Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) North AA/AAA All-Star as a senior and an a MAIS Fab 15 selection as a junior and senior. The most valuable player of the team as a senior, Carter was a captain her last three years on the squad. Within the team, she was tabbed the program’s best offensive player as a sophomore and junior while claiming the best defensive player award as a sophomore.
In addition to softball, Carter plays basketball and runs track at MRA. At the 2013 MAIS North AAA state track meet, she helped the Lady Patriots to the runner-up finish. Carter placed second in the triple jump, third in the 200-meter dash and fifth in the long jump while being part of the first-place 4x200-meter relay team and second-place 4x100 and 4x400-meter groups.
“The Mississippi State environment feels like home and everyone is so nice,” Carter said of her decision to become a Bulldog.
During the summer, Carter gained additional softball experience playing for the Mississippi Elite. With the club, the team co-captain won the ASA 16-and-under state championship and participated in the USFA World Series, finishing as the runner-up.
Off the field, Carter is involved with Ronald McDonald House charities, Operation Christmas Child and Horses for Handicapped, a group of volunteers committed to improving the quality of life for handicapped children through hands-on interaction with horses.
Knudsen has been a three-year letterwinner as an infielder, outfielder and pitcher for the Rams and head coach Tia Stiles. As a junior, she earned a spot on the Class 5A Iowa Girls Coaches Association All-State Second Team, the District 5A West first team and the All-Central Iowa Conference Second Team as an infielder. A year earlier, Knudsen earned District 5A West first team honors while playing infield.
Also at Southeast Polk, Knudsen is involved with student council, student activities leadership team and the National Honor Society. She volunteers for Care Initiatives Hospice, going to nursing homes and visiting the residents, the Children’s Cancer Connection and the Kiwanis Miracle League, helping disabled children play softball/baseball during the summer.
Her travel team, the Iowa Blitz, has claimed second place at the nationals in South Carolina and won the title in California.
Mississippi State just finished the Southeastern Conference Tournament and now wait to hear if they advance to the NCAA Tournament. The selection show will take place Sunday at 9 p.m. CT on ESPNU.