Walker to play for Red Devils
Last summer, Allen Community College saw Lainy Walker play just one doubleheader. As it turns out, that was all the Red Devils needed to see.
Walker, a senior on the Tonganoxie High softball team, will continue her career on the diamond next season in Iola. She signed with Allen in a ceremony Thursday in the THS Chieftain room.
“It’s exciting that we have individuals like Lainy who have the talent and the work ethic, and have put in a lot of time over the years, then get the opportunity to sign at the college level,” THS athletics director Brandon Parker said. “We know that Allen is getting a great individual and a great softball player.”
Walker had also been in contact with Fort Scott Community College, but she said communication later dried up. Her future plans became much more clear when her competitive team, the Kansas Classics, took a trip to Allen’s campus in the summer.
“It all came really suddenly,” Walker said. “We went down there and we scrimmaged them, and literally the next day, they called and said they’d like to see me play again, then they signed me.
“It’s wonderful to have someone see so much potential in you. I’m really excited.”
Walker took over the Chieftains’ starting catching duties in her junior season and quickly emerged as an offensive and defensive playmaker. She missed two games with an injury, but started in every other contest and finished near the top of the team in several statistical categories. She was third with a .440 batting average and .517 on-base percentage, she tied for second with 14 runs batted in and led the team with 10 doubles.
Additionally, she was one of just two regular starters to commit zero errors on defense.
“I can’t express the type of softball player that Lainy is,” THS coach Stephanie Wittman said. “I have relinquished all rights to Lainy as to what pitches are called. She has the experience, not only as a great high school player, but as a great club player. When you have a catcher who sees the entire field for you, she is our designated second loud-mouthed coach we can have out there.”
Walker is the second Chieftain to sign with a college softball program this year. She joins fellow senior Caly Ingle-Maxwell, who will play for Hutchinson Community College.
THS is coming off an 11-8 season in 2013 — it’s first record above .500 since the 2007 team went 8-6. Walker said the Chieftains took several steps in the right direction a year ago, including a win against rival and perennial state contender Basehor-Linwood, but she admitted her ultimate goal in her final go-around is much larger than a winning season.
“State all the way,” Walker said.
Walker will join an Allen team that went 9-30 under coach Jamie Amerine in 2013, including a 7-19 mark in the Kansas Jayhawk Conference. This year’s Red Devils entered this week with an 0-6 record.