HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Permian foursome makes college choices

&lclass="BodyCopy">Four Permian Lady Panthers softball players made their college choices official Wednesday, signing letters of intent in a signing ceremony at the Permian library.&ltgt;&lclass="BodyCopy">Catcher Hannah Banker signed with Lubbock Christian, first baseman Shadie Davis signed with Langston and shortstop Hunter Harkrider signed with West Texas A&M, while outfielder Mikayla Martinez chose the junior college route and signed with Luna Community College.&ltgt;&lclass="BodyCopy">“This is a big day for these four amazing seniors,” Permian softball coach Kristin Williams said. “They’re amazing athletes. They started our program out with me. It’s a blessing to get to be with these girls. Each and every one of these individuals worked hard to get to this point. Each has contributed to the successful seasons here at Permian High School.&ltgt;&lclass="BodyCopy">“They’re all amazing kids on and off the field, good grades and everything. It’s hard to do that and play a sport. Getting to move on to the next level and play is even better.”&ltgt;&lclass="BodyCopy">Banker, Permian’s leadoff batter, batted .473 with 19 doubles, 10 home runs and 35 RBIs last season. She scored 52 runs and stole 23 bases. She also threw out seven baserunners.&ltgt;&lclass="BodyCopy">“It means a lot to be able to play at the next level,” Banker said. “I worked a lot of years for it. I chose LCU because it’s close to home. The campus has a real at-home feel and I like it. The classes are small. I just felt like it was a good fit for me.”&ltgt;&lclass="BodyCopy">Davis batted .341 with a team-high 12 home runs and 44 RBIs while recording 35 putouts and a .902 fielding percentage in 2018.&ltgt;&lclass="BodyCopy">“It means a lot to be able to play at the next level,” Davis said. “I’ve worked so many years for this. I actually was looking at all historical black colleges. That’s where I wanted to play.&ltgt;&lclass="BodyCopy">“I love the coach (Hosea Bell). I love the school. I felt that the moment I was there and that’s why I made it my choice.”&ltgt;&lclass="BodyCopy">Harkrider batted .393 with 11 doubles, eight home runs and 48 RBIs as a junior. Defensively, she had 18 assists and 90 putouts. She said the West Texas A&M campus provided a sense of familiarity.&ltgt;&lclass="BodyCopy">“It’s like Odessa, basically,” Harkrider said. “It’s closer to here and it felt like a good place to be. I felt like I was at Odessa but not in Odessa.”&ltgt;&lclass="BodyCopy">Martinez did not play varsity last season, but has been a teammate with Davis on the West Texas Threat club team. She said Luna, a Western Junior College Athletic Conference member located in Las Vegas, N.M., was a good fit for her.&ltgt;&lclass="BodyCopy">“I just liked the school,” Martinez said. “It’s little and I liked the classes. I liked the coach (Mark Mattox). He was just awesome. I just liked everything about the school.”&ltgt;&lclass="BodyCopy">Lubbock Christian and Langston are both members of the Heartland Conference, while LCU and West Texas regularly play nonconference games. That will put Banker and Harkrider, who are also teammates on American Freedom, and Davis in the position of being opponents next spring.&ltgt;&lclass="BodyCopy">“I’m going to enjoy playing against my friends,” Banker said. “I’m going to miss them.”&ltgt;&lclass="BodyCopy">Williams, who is entering her fourth season at Permian, said the signings were significant as the players represent the first class to play for her from freshman through senior seasons.&ltgt;&lclass="BodyCopy">“Walking into the class of 2019 when they were freshmen, I knew I had something special with these girls and all of my seniors this year,” she said. “They’re my first class and will always hold a special place in my heart. I would like to congratulate each and every one of these girls.”&ltgt;