Collinsville’s Barkley signs soft­ball scholarship with Lurleen B. Wal­lace

Cherokee County Herald - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By Shannon Fa­gan Sports Ed­i­tor

COLLINSVILLE — Lurleen B. Wal­lace soft­ball coach Tif­fany Tay­lor said the cor­re­spon­dence she re­ceived from Collinsville se­nior pitcher Emma Barkley was “the best email I’ve ever got­ten.”

Tay­lor had been look­ing around for pitch­ing help for her Saints pro­gram, and as fate would have it, Barkley con­tacted her at just the right time.

“She emailed me and asked for a try­out,” Tay­lor re­called. “When I saw she was a pitcher, I was like ‘Oh yeah, come on down. We can’t have enough of those.’“

Barkley’s try­out at the An­dalu­sia, Ala. school was a suc­cess, and even be­fore Barkley had ar­rived back home, she had a scholarship of­fer on the ta­ble.

On April 10, Barkley put pen to pa­per in a cer­e­mony at the Collinsville High School gym.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited,” Barkley said. “I’ve loved soft­ball since I was re­ally lit­tle. I haven’t al­ways been the best, but my dad has worked me re­ally hard, and now I feel I have the work ethic to make it. I’m go­ing to be a long way from home, but I’m ex­cited to make new friends and get to play new peo­ple I’ve never played be­fore.”

Collinsville coach James Coker has coached Barkley from recre­ational ball all the way through high school. He takes pride in see-

Collinsville se­nior pitcher Emma Barkley (cen­ter) signed a soft­ball scholarship with Lurleen B. Wal­lace on April 10.

ing her be­ing able to con­tinue her ca­reer.

“This is the fruits of the la­bor,” Coker said. “Just to see her de­velop and grow and get this op­por­tu­nity is won­der­ful. She’s con­tin­ued to mas­ter her pitch­ing. She’s still in the process. She’s got some things she can work on, and she knows that, but she comes and works on them on a daily ba­sis. She’s de­vel­op­ing her­self into a pretty good hit­ter too, but pitch­ing is her forte, and that’s what it will be in col­lege.”

Barkley said she was ner­vous dur­ing her Fe­bru­ary try­out with the Saints, but her coach-in-wait­ing could tell very quickly Barkley was just what she was look­ing for.

“Af­ter two or three pitches, I knew im­me­di­ately we’ve got to have her,” Tay­lor said. “I’m re­ally ex­cited about get­ting Emma. I think she’ll be a great as­set to our pro­gram. She’s go­ing to do big things. I feel cer­tain of that. She seems to be do­ing pretty well this year, so that makes me feel even bet­ter about get­ting her.”

Coker cred­its Barkley’s fam­ily for help­ing her earn the op­por­tu­nity to play col­lege soft­ball.

“There are a lot of sac­ri­fices a fam­ily makes with pitch­ing, count­less hours sit­ting on a bucket, the ex­pense of hir­ing a pitch­ing coach, things like that,” he said. “This is a fam­ily mo­ment right here. I’ve got all the faith in the world she’ll go down there and put forth the ef­fort and the work to be able to play.”

Even though Barkley is ex­cited to be­gin the next phase of her soft­ball ca­reer, she said Mon­day was bit­ter­sweet for her.

“I’m sad to be leaving high school, but I’m ex­cited that this isn’t the end and there’s a lot more ball left to play,” Barkley said. “It’s re­ally sat­is­fy­ing to know I’m go­ing fur­ther.”

Shannon Fa­gaon /

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