Gina McCloud Commits to MSU

Gene's Page did an exclusive interview with MSU softball commitment Gina McCloud. Gina has played several positions for Lawrence County (MS) High School, including shortstop, second base and catcher.

I've heard that you have committed to State. Is that correct?
"Yes sir."

Haven't you grown up a fan of Mississippi State?
"Yes sir. My grandfather was a big fan and I kind of followed him."

I guess you are pretty excited about not only playing for your favorite school but in the SEC, as well?
"I'm very excited. It's like a dream come true, but I don't really think it has soaked in, yet."

What other schools showed interest in you?
"I had talked to the Co-Lin junior college down here and I went to Southern (Miss') camp and spoke with them and also Delta State. But once I found out that Mississippi State was interested, I really didn't give anyone else an opportunity."

When did Mississippi State offer you a scholarship?
"Although they couldn't offer me anything at the camp, they communicated to me that they really liked me. I called them one day (after the camp) and we talked for a little while and (MSU head coach Jay Miller) offered me a chance to play for them and I committed."

What did Coach Miller say he liked about you as a softball player?
"They said I have a very good attitude and a lot of hustle. I've been told in the past that if I was told to go through a brick wall I would do it. I have a lot of determination and a lot of heart."

What position did Coach Miller say he wants you to play in college?
"He said they are probably going to use me wherever they can because I can catch, play second (and shortstop). He said they will probably use me as a utility player."

You mentioned earlier that you went to MSU's softball camps. When did you first start going?
"I think it was in 1999. That was the first time I had seen fastpitch (softball) because I used to play baseball when I was little."

You played baseball? I'm assuming you played on the boys team.
"Yes, it was the boys team. They didn't have fastpitch where I was from so I used to play baseball. When I was about 12 or so, I went to (MSU's) camp. I knew that was what I wanted to do because I really liked it and I wasn't playing baseball any longer. There was a guy who was from around Jackson who liked what he saw (when he saw me play), so I started playing for (his team). I traveled to Jackson about 2 or 3 time a week for their practices."

You are currently playing on a tournament team from Clinton, Mississippi. Is that the team you are referring to?
"I quit playing for them after about two years. Now, I'm playing for the Mississippi Blast out of Clinton."

I've talked to a couple of MSU's softball signees from last year. One of the things they mentioned is high school softball players travel quite a bit.
"Yes sir. I've had two weeks off this summer."

Really? Where have you gone during your travels?
"We have been to Birmingham (Alabama), Tennessee, Louisiana and all over Mississippi. We have even been to Florida before, although we didn't go this past year."

I'm curious. I know you said you played baseball, but have you ever played slowpitch softball prior to playing fastpitch?
"I quit playing baseball when I was ten. Because we didn't have fastpitch, I played slowpitch. I played for about 2 or 3 years, then I went to (MSU's) camp and I knew that was what I wanted to play. That's when I quit slowpitch and started playing fastpitch."

Was it a tough adjustment?
"Well, since I had played baseball, it wasn't as hard. It was hard to hit but once I got used to it, it wasn't that difficult."

I've enjoyed talking with you, Gina. I look forward to seeing you play at Mississippi State.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher and owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial site for Mississippi State sports since October, 1996. He can be reached by email at

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