SANTA ANA - Following her record-setting career at Santa Ana College, Alexandra Perkins (Edison HS) has signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her academic and athletic careers at the University of Tennessee where she has received a scholarship to join the Volunteers softball team.
The two-year starter is leaving the Dons after setting career marks in stolen bases (63) and runs scored (89) while also breaking the single-season record with 42 stolen bases. Perkins also added a new record to the books as she stole those 42 bases consecutively without being caught.
During her freshman season, Perkins started all 43 games while hitting .362 with 25 RBI and 21 stolen bases. She followed that up by leading the Dons with a .395 batting average and a team-high 49 hits during her sophomore year. She fell one run short of the SAC single-season record with 45 runs scored while driving in another 27 runs.
Perkins helped the Dons reach the postseason during both of her seasons, including hosting the College of the Desert this past season.
"I'm very proud of Alley," Dons Head Coach Jessica Rapoza said. "I'm especially proud of her motivation to succeed. She chased her dream. She knew what she wanted and wouldn't stop until she got it."
That dream, Perkins said, has been to play for the University of Tennessee. Growing up, Perkins' top choices were Tennessee or the University of California, Los Angeles.
But it was the draw of helping the Volunteers to their first title that really drove Perkins to Knoxville. UCLA has a rich history that includes 11 national championships compared to none by the Volunteers, who just missed out on their first title after losing in the 2013 NCAA Softball National Championships to the University of Oklahoma.
"I wanted to be a part of a first," Perkins said. "I wanted to establish a legacy. Not just be a part of it."
Perkins added that she is excited to play at a level that most people usually just dream of.
"This was always my dream, going to Tennessee," Perkins said. "I never thought it would be a reality."
While at Edison High School, Perkins was recruited by smaller Division-I schools during her senior season. But after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, she made the decision to stay home and play at Santa Ana College.
She added that she felt the transition from high school to college would have been difficult enough without the concern of her mother's health. But staying close to home and playing at SAC helped her through that transition.
Now, with her mother recovered and two successful seasons with the Dons, Perkins is getting the chance to follow her dream.
"If I had gone out of high school I wouldn't have been able to handle it," Perkins said. "I wouldn't change my path for anything."