Since the first day she picked up a bat and glove, Kaylee Hughes has dreamed of playing big-time softball. That chance has arrived.In front of a large group of teammates, family, friends and …
Since the first day she picked up a bat and glove, Kaylee Hughes has dreamed of playing big-time softball. That chance has arrived.
In front of a large group of teammates, family, friends and supporters, Hughes put pen to paper Thursday, signing a scholarship to play softball for Piedmont College, where she said she feels at home with the campus and the caring environment –from players, to coaches, to staff.
"I'm excited to continue my career at Piedmont. I've worked hard to get where I am. I wouldn't have gotten where I am without the coaches I've had and the high school experience I've had. It has been the best experience," said Hughes, a four-year starter for the Lady Mustangs.
"It's a small community and it feel like family there. The coaches and the atmosphere when I went to camps, I really loved it. I like how professors care for the students and are willing to help them in any situation, and are always going to be there for you," said the future Lion.
Lady Mustangs head coach Lauren Limberg had high praise for her prize first baseman.
"We are just beyond proud of her. She's worked so hard. We have gotten to coach her in middle school and high school and it's been a joy to watch her grow and develop, not only as a softball player, but as a young lady. We've made a great connection with her family and now her younger sister, Lindsey, is a freshman on our team. Kaylee has been named a captain this season and has been a great team leader. She is someone the girls can look to — he is a great role model for them."
Hughes will take with her an impressive ledger of statistics compiled during her career at Walker Valley.
As of the finish of the 2018 season, Hughes has booked 114 hits with 72 singles, 25 doubles, 17 home runs, 107 RBIs and scored 64 runs with five stolen bases. She has a .440 on base percentage, .603 slugging percentage and a .917 fielding percentage with 133 put outs.
"She is ready for Piedmont. She has improved every year," said Limberg. "She's been a huge bat for us. I'll never forget last season when she hit the home run at Coffee County that put us in the state tournament. For me that will be a moment in time I will always remember. She has had so many big hits for us.
"Defensively, at first base, the ground she is able to cover and the plays she is able to make goes without saying. She has been a huge part of our team both offensively and defensively."
The Lady Mustangs' infielder said she looked around somewhat, but felt like she belonged at Piedmont, where she will study early childhood education. She is hoping her work ethic and team-first attitude will help her eventually break into the starting lineup for the Lions sooner than later. As for her post-college plans, Hughes said she is going to enjoy her stay in the scenic mountains of Demorest, Georgia, and explore her options when her college career eventually nears a close.
"I had looked at other places, but no one really gave me an offer, and I felt more at home at Piedmont than anywhere else," she said.
"I am going to take with me a big heart and open arms. I'm going to work my butt off to be the best I can be for the team, and love and encourage my teammates through it all. ... Hopefully, by my sophomore or junior year, I'm going to take this four years and look at it as I get closer to graduation."
Limberg said Hughes is certain to rise to the occasion and is looking forward to watching as her career continues to expand.
"She has been a joy to coach. We are so proud of her and are excited for this season and her future. She has a great future ahead," she said.
Print subscribers have FREE access to clevelandbanner.com by registering HERE
Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE
We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.
If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.
Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE