WHEELERSBURG – Just a few short weeks before practices officially begin for area high school softball teams, Wheelersburg senior Laiken Salyers has made one of the most important decisions of her young life. She has decided where she will continue her academic and athletic career.
Salyers made it official late last week, as to where she will spend her collegiate years, and to the joys of her high school, and soon to be college coach, Salyers will take her talents to Shawnee State University.
The choice was easy to Salyers.
“It’s been an easy choice for me, they’re close to home, and I wanted to be a part of the new, up and coming Shawnee program,” said Salyers. “The coaches are recruiting some really good players, and are starting a new winning tradition.”
Salyers said she has always had her eye on Shawnee, and noted their proximity as one of the reasons they were on her list.
Shawnee seemed to be the natural fit for Salyers. She said she enjoyed her visits to campus and meetings with the softball coaching staff, as well as reuniting with some players she has enjoyed sharing the field.
“I love all the coaches, they’re good,” Salyers said. “I’ll be able to play with some of my former teammates that I played with during travel ball. There’s a bunch of girls I played with over the summer.”
Other than reuniting with some of her travel ball friends, Salyers is also excited to get started on the Shawnee softball field to help the Bears start winning more games.
“I’m excited to start something new at Shawnee,” said Salyers.
After officially signing with Shawnee, Salyers said she did begin to get emotional, as she realized her time at Wheelersburg High School was coming to an end.
“It’s just crazy, because I’m finally a senior, and I never thought I’d get here,” Salyers said. “It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, is play softball. I’m just blessed to get the opportunity to do so.”
Wheelersburg softball coach Teresa Ruby commented about Salyers’ leadership with the team.
“She’s a leader for us, and she shows up every day,” Ruby said. “She’s very consistent, stable, mature, and has a very nice mature approach to the game. Those are some of the intangible things we’re going to miss.”
On the field, Salyers can play either corner of the infield, according to Ruby.
“She’s got great hands, and always gives you a solid at bat,” Ruby said. “We’re going to miss quite a bit. There’s going to be a hole when she leaves, big shoes to fill for somebody.”
Salyers and Ruby are both excited for Salyers’ final softball season at Wheelersburg.
“We have a great senior group, and some nice incoming folks,” Ruby said. “We have a lot to be excited about, but a lot of work to do to back it up.”
Recently named Shawnee softball coach Steve Whittaker is excited to bring Salyers into the Lady Bears softball team. Whittaker was named the coach in October of 2015, and is glad to sign another local player to play for Shawnee State.
Whittaker was on hand for the signing, and expressed the same attitude toward Salyers as Ruby.
“I’ve had the opportunity to watch her play for years,” Whittaker said. “Her dad and I have both coached her over the years, and anytime you can get a local player to stay close, it’s good for the community and for the school.”
Once she begins at Shawnee in the fall, Salyers plans to major in the university’s Dental Hygeine program.
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.