PDT Sports Writer
LUCASVILLE — One of Scioto County’s most feared hitters made it official Wednesday that she will be playing for the Bowling Green State University along with a former teammate that was regarded as one of the county’s most dominant pitchers.
Valley senior Kayla Koch signed her National Letter of Intent with the Falcon softball team after decommitting from Ball State earlier this year. Koch, who batted .481 last year with a school record 10 home runs and 42 runs batted in, will join former teammate Braiden Dillow on the BGSU roster.
For Koch, the day was filled with a variety of emotions
“I’m so overwhelmed right now, it’s a huge relief of just actually figuring out what I want to do,” Koch said. “I picked Bowling Green because it’s a great place to get my degree at and that’s the first and most important thing. I also want to bring something to that school for softball and hopefully break records and bring something to the (Mid-American Conference) as well.”
Originally with the thought of studying nursing, Koch will plan on majoring in speech pathology. She said the switch in majors was made just within the last week.
She also felt once a visit of the campus was completed, it felt like home. One thing that helped was Dillow, who answered any questions that Koch had during her trip.
“Me and Braiden get along great, I think we do well with each other on the field as we did in high school,” Koch said.
Her high school coach, Montie Spriggs, praises Koch for her play during her high school career.
“Without her, we wouldn’t have been as accomplished as we have been over the last few years,” Spriggs said. “She’s very dedicated to what she does, a very hard worker and a very talented young lady.
“…Bowling Green is getting a great competitor, she works hard and she cares about winning.”
As the reigning SOC II Player of the Year and an Ohio High School Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association Division III Second Team selection, Koch feels her biggest improvement has been her mental approach to the game.
“You have to accept failure and I finally realized that I can accept failure,” Koch said. “Hitting is a big part of the game for me, that’s what a lot of colleges look at me for is my bat.”
With her name inked on the paper, the journey from being watched by major schools before she stepped foot onto the high school diamonds has paid off and she can play her senior season without wondering where she will be at in a year’s time.
Spriggs feels if she can improve her hitting on the off-speed pitches, she will be even better. But what she has developed right now with the bat is impressive.
“She can hit for average, she can hit for power,” Spriggs said. “She’s very competitive at the plate, she’s very patient at the plate and she’s a very good hitter.”
As far as goals are concerned, she wants to reset the single-season home run mark, finish with the career home run record — she currently has 19 — and help lead her team into a deep tournament run after being eliminated last spring in the sectionals.
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.