Sonoraville senior Shayna Dutton has officially signed to continue her collegiate softball career at Young Harris College. Dutton was honored in a signing ceremony at Sonoraville High School on Wednesday, surrounded by family, friends, coaches and Sonoraville administrators.
“It’s kind of like a dream come true,” Dutton said. “It’s kind of surreal. I didn’t ever think it was going to happen. I always thought about it, but now that it’s actually happening, ... I haven’t really come to realize how real it is yet.”
“I’m just proud of Shayna and the work she’s put in,” Lady Phoenix Softball head coach Chad Hayes said. “You get attached to the girls. She really wanted this for years and she definitely deserves it. Just couldn’t be more proud of what she’s accomplished and getting the chance to play in college.”
During her senior season, Dutton hit .367, the highest average of her time at Sonoraville, collecting 29 hits and 18 RBIs. Career-wise, Dutton checks in at .337, racking up 88 hits and 50 RBIs.
“She’s always been really strong with her bat,” Hayes said. “I told her years ago that her bat would probably take her to college. She hasn’t reached her peak yet.”
While Dutton might be more familiar to most people with her bat, Hayes said he thinks a lot of people didn’t realize her defensive abilities.
“Defensively, she’s just really really solid and has a very good arm,” Hayes said. “(She) helped us out pitching this year. She hadn’t pitched in a few years. Her bat stands out, but she’s a great defensive player too.”
Hayes said he couldn’t select one particular of what he’ll remember most about having Dutton on the Lady Phoenix softball team, but mentioned her strong work ethic and character.
“She was always wanting extra reps,” Hayes said. “She just put in the time that so many players say they want to do, but don’t actually do. She did it. She went that extra mile to accomplish this.”
Dutton said Young Harris became the school for her upon meeting Mountain Lions head coach Kayla Lucas.
“She made it feel like home, like I could trust her,” Dutton said. “It was going to be easy to make that decision.”
Hayes said he will miss Dutton’s personality and work ethic she brought to Sonoraville Softball.
“She shows up everyday and does what she’s asked and does it with a smile on her face,” Hayes said. “Great kid to be around (and) the girls love her. Obviously, I’ll miss her as a player, but just more as a person and what she brought to the program with her character.”
Dutton will graduate from Sonoraville High School in May and attend college at Young Harris beginning next fall semester.
“It’s kind of like a fresh start, but ... more serious,” Dutton said. “(I’m looking forward to) the relationships I’m going to make with the other people.”