PORTSMOUTH — After four years of softball and basketball at Portsmouth High School, Peighton Williams wasn’t ready to leave town.
“I love the Portsmouth area and I’m excited to continue to represent the Portsmouth area,” she said. “I love playing here.”
Williams made it official on Wednesday evening, signing a letter of intent to play college softball at Shawnee State.
“I want to say thank you to my parents for pushing me when I was little, to the teachers and coaches at Portsmouth High School that have taught me to be the athlete that I am — especially Kristen (Bradshaw, Portsmouth basketball and softball coach),” she said.
Few have made an impact on a program the way Williams did with the Lady Trojans. On the diamond, she was named first team All-District three times during her four-year career, and was named honorable mention All-State once. This season, she batted .532 and helped the Trojans turn a lost season into a success. Portsmouth won 10 of its last 19 games, including a first-round playoff matchup with Fairland.
On the basketball court, Williams scored over 1,600 points with the Trojans, earning an All-Ohio honorable mention three times. She graduates holding school records for points in a game (41), points in a season and rebounds in a season.
When it came time to pick a college, Williams had her choice in schools. Rio Grande offered a basketball scholarship, and Marietta College offered a dual scholarship for basketball and softball. Williams even heard from schools as far away as New York’s St. Francis College.
But Portsmouth is in Williams’ blood. Once she decided that she wanted to focus on softball, the decision was an easy one.
“Everyone wants to work hard to go different places, but I believe that you can still work hard and represent where you came from,” she said.
Williams will be joined at Shawnee State by some of her best friends, who also happen to be area softball standouts. Abby Sparks and Taylor Dempsey of Wheelersburg, and McKenzie Whittaker and Megan Shupert of West all played with Williams during travel ball growing up.
“I think it would be awesome to continue to play with them. It’s such a great group of girls,” Williams said.
In her two years as the Portsmouth girls basketball coach and her one year as the softball coach, Bradshaw has seen Williams take her game to the next level.
“I’ve really enjoyed coaching her. She’s just a great athlete,” Bradshaw said. “I hope that she’s shown the younger girls that you just can’t play in the high school season. You have to take it above and beyond that.”
Williams also hopes that her hard work has left an impact on her Trojan teammates.
“If you want to do something, go out and work for it,” she said. “If you really set your mind to it, you can do it. Hard work is amazing.”
Reach Alex Hider at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931 or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriter