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Lady Warriors' Hartley signs with Lander

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IL softball stars uses work ethic to go to the next level

By Robert Howey

INDIAN LAND – Indian Land High School senior softball player Alyssa Hartley has built a reputation as a tireless worker in her career on the diamond.

That work ethic paid a major dividend Monday afternoon when Hartley signed a softball scholarship to play at Lander University in the Indian Land High School media center.

“Alyssa drew a lot of attention over the summer from college scouts watching our games,” said Marci Turso of the Charlotte Cobras’ summer softball team which included Hartley. “Alyssa is the heart and soul of our team.

“She has an outstanding attitude and work ethic,” Turso said. “She will find her way in a lineup. Alyssa is fun to coach.”

The 2009 Lady Warriors’ season will mark her fourth campaign with the IL varsity.

In her freshman season, she was the starting right fielder on  the Class A state champion Lady Warriors’ softball team under coach Monica Barfield.

A year ago, the Lady Warriors’ center fielder earned all-region honors and received the team’s Hustle Award after hitting .350 with seven doubles, three triples, two home runs and 23 runs batted in for the Class A Upper State finalist Lady Warriors.

“Alyssa has really worked hard for this day and she’s very deserving of this opportunity,” said Barfield, who is yielding her softball duties to new IL coach Nicole Ritter. “Although I won’t be coaching her this spring, I’m proud to say she is the first player I coached to sign to play softball. It means a lot to me to see a player go to the next level.

“Alyssa personifies what giving 110 percent is,” Barfield said. “She always went extra and beyond and that’s what helped her progress as a player and reach this level.”

Hartley said a visit to Lander last month sold her on the Greenwood school and the Bearcats’ softball program.

“Lander fits me,” Hartley said. “The campus is small and friendly and I come from a small town.

“When I visited there, I was able to watch a fall practice and meet their players,” she said. “I enjoyed meeting them and I feel I will fit in with them. I feel compatible with them.”

Hartley, who has a 3.2 grade point average, is equally strong in the classroom.

“I have been playing softball since I was a 9-year-old and I wanted to play as long as I could,” she said. “I’m looking forward to continuing my education and softball career at Lander.”

Hartley’s father, J.A., said three key factors he stressed to his daughter have made a difference.

“We have always said to trust in God, have a good attitude and work hard,” Hartley said. “Alyssa has wanted to do this since she was able to hold a bat in her hand and she’s worked hard to get to this point in her life.”