It’s the next step of a journey that Odessa High outfielder Kaylean Ayala is ready to take on.
The Lady Bronchos’ standout officially signed to continue her playing career at Cisco College on Monday at the Physical Education Gym at the school.
She is the third college signee from the senior class of 2019 for the Lady Bronchos.
“My whole life has been softball,” Ayala said. “This is something I’ve been working at for a long time. It’s just a big step into my future.”
That hard work earned Ayala a first-team all-district selection for last season’s efforts and now an opportunity to continue playing at the next level.
For Odessa High head coach Rachel Pena, it’s rewarding to see Ayala’s efforts pay off.
“The thing that stands out about Kaylean is that she’s constantly improving,” Pena said. “The growth has always been steady and I think she has the potential to get even better.”
One area where Pena has seen the most improvement was her speed. Ayala was converted into a slap hitter and the results have paid off for her.
“She figured out that she could use her speed to her advantage,” Pena said. “You can build everything else around it and that’s something that Kaylean has done for herself.”
Ayala will not be the only Lady Broncho heading to Cisco College from her senior class. First baseman Hailey Prentice signed with the school back in November.
“Hailey and I have been really good friends for a long time,” Ayala said. “We played summer ball together as well and we’re just looking forward to making new memories.”
“I think it helps anyone to go off to college with a teammate and a friend,” Pena said. “Hailey and Kaylean can lean on each other and that will help both of them.”
Building on those relationships is something that was important to Ayala.
In fact, if you ask what makes the group of Odessa High softball seniors special, it would be that tight-knit bond.
“We’re all very close with each other,” Ayala said. “All of us want to get better and we want something big for the team and not just ourselves.”
Ayala added, “It means a lot to have that support. My coaches and teammates have helped me get through a lot of obstacles to help get me to this point.”
Like the other seniors on the Odessa High softball team, Ayala enters her last season in high school with extra motivation.
After taking home a bi-district championship a year ago, the expectation is to accomplish something that the senior class hasn’t done yet: advance past the second round of the playoffs.
“I want to make a lot of memories but we have a lot to prove to people this year,” she said. “We definitely want to get past the second round. We haven’t gone past there yet and that’s a goal for us this year.”
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