Lyle picks Troy State
Nick Johnston, Hartselle Enquirer
It sounds like Jessica Lyle has her priorities right.
The senior pitcher/first baseman for the Hartselle Lady Tigers softball team could have went to LSU, Rhodes or UAB – big schools in big cities.
But Troy State just seemed like a better fit – for softball, of course, but also for education.
"I didn't want to go to a bigger school just to go to a bigger school," Lyle said. "I'm not going to play softball after college or anything, so I want to get my education."
Lyle committed to Troy State last week and will sign in November. Though she is one of Hartselle's ace pitchers, she was recruited to play first base.
"They recruited me as a first baseman, but mostly because of my hitting," Lyle said. "Lori Westberg (a 1998 Hartselle graduate) went to Troy and was a really good hitter. They told me they knew the Hartselle girls could hit."
Troy State head coach Melanie Davis has racked up more than 300 wins in eight seasons as head coach of the Lady Trojans. None of her teams have won less than 34 games in a season, so Lyle will be at a top NCAA Division I program.
"It's exciting," Lyle said. "They've been successful, and I am ready to start playing in college."
But first, Lyle and the Lady Tigers will have to defend back-to-back Class 5A State Championships. Now, more than ever, she's ready for that challenge.
"I wanted to get this over with," Lyle said of committing early. "It makes it a lot easier, because I can concentrate on the upcoming season, and kick some butt in the state tournament … There will be less pressure."
Hartselle will be the favorite for a third straight state title in many circles. That doesn't bother Lyle.
"We will be even better than last year," she said. "Don't get me wrong, we will miss our seniors from last season, but we're going to pick up and go on … It's going to be a great year."