Bell County senior Sarah Brooks signed her national letter of intent to play softball at Alice Lloyd College on Monday.

Brooks has been a key cog in the Lady Cats’ lineup over the past few seasons and has helped power the team to a 7-7 record so far this season while playing first base.

“It means everything. This was a dream come true,” Brooks said of knowing she’ll get to play softball in college. “I’ve had so many minor setbacks in my life. I was told I wasn’t good enough — people told me I was too fat to play — but this was a good comeback. I’ve proved to a lot of people that it doesn’t matter  about your size, it matters about your heart.”

Current Lady Cat head coach Alex Barnett said she and assistant coach Danielle Petra are both thankful to have been able to coach Sarah this season.

“She’s got a good bat and she’s led the team this season,” Barnett said. “We’re excited that she gets to go on to the next level and we’re excited about what she’s going to be able to do at the next level.”

Former Bell County softball J.W. Campbell also spoke at Monday’s signing ceremony.

“I’m proud of Sarah for moving on to the next level. I only had the privilege to work with her for a year, but I saw her get better,” he said. “She’s going to do well because she’s going to work hard to keep improving her skills. She’s going to find that she’ll enjoy herself and be successful as long as she puts her heart and soul into it.”

Alice Lloyd coach Nathan Hall said Brooks was a really good fit for the Lady Eagle program.

“We’ve been on the up and up this year and I just think that she’ll be able to help us get over the fence that we’ve been working towards,” he said.

Brooks said she chose Alice Lloyd for their education program as well as the chance to continue playing softball.

“They have a really good education program and I’ve always looked for my academics before sports, that’s how I was taught,” she said.  “When I first met Coach Hall, he was a really great guy and I knew this was where I wanted to go. He gave me the opportunity to play and I took it.”

Brooks wanted to thank God for providing her with everything she needed for this opportunity. She added that her father, Scott Brooks, was always her toughest coach and thanked him for challenging her to keep getting better.

She said her best memory from high school softball so far was beating Harlan County earlier this season.

“This was the first time we beat Harlan County in five or six years. I went from Middlesboro to Bell County and Bell County never really had a good softball program until we got J.W. here to help us,” Brooks said. “When we beat Harlan County, it just proved that people slept on us and we’re not a team to be slept on.”

The Lady Cats will be back in action on Monday when they host Pineville for a doubleheader.

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