BANGS — Bangs Lady Dragon senior catcher Taylor Malett’s softball career will continue past high school graduation, as she signed a National Letter of Intent on Thursday to play for the NCAA Division II Rogers State University Hillcats, located in Claremore, Oklahoma.
“This means everything to me to get four more years of softball,” Malett said. “A lot of people go through high and never get to play in college, but I’m blessed that I’ll be able to play.”
Malett chose Rogers State over Sam Houston, Tarleton and UT-Tyler.
“When I went to the college it felt like home to me,” Malett said. “When you pick a college you want it for a second home, a place where they can get to know you and take you in.”
As for opting to play out of state, Malett said, “I’m going to miss my family, but it’ll be good to get away from home and experience life in general.”
Lady Dragon head coach Beau Burnett spoke during the signing ceremony at the Bangs High School gym.
“It’s a been a great journey for Taylor, from high school ball to travel ball, a lot of weekends and a lot of time invested,” Burnett said. “It’s a great honor to play college softball. It’s one thing to get an education but you’ll also be able to go play something you love.
“You’re going to smile, you’re going to cry, you’re going to laugh, you’re going to get mad, you’re going to start sometimes and you’re to come off the bench. But always remember that little kid that loved the game. A lot of girls forget that in college. Always remember that, all the way back to playing catch with your parents.”
A member of the Heartland Conference, Rogers State is coming off a 28-24 season, with a 6-15 conference mark under the guidance of head coach Andrea Vaughan.
“I’m going to have to work hard because there’s a lot of upperclassmen where I’m going,” Malett said in regard to her first-year expectations. “I’m going to have to put in the work, stay extra and make sure I’m doing what you’re supposed to do in class and on the field.”
Malett, who eventually wants to pursue a career in physical therapy, still has one season remaining at Bangs, where she’d like to finish her career by “reaching at least the third round of the playoffs and breaking the home run record.”