Knotts signs with Lincoln Trail College
DUGGER — Dugger Union senior Rayven Knotts played basketball, volleyball and softball for the Lady Bulldogs. But there was only one sport for Knotts.
“Even though I played basketball and volleyball, softball is the sport I love,” said Knotts, who signed a letter-of-intent to play softball at Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Illinois on Wednesday morning.
“Ever since I started playing T-ball when I was 7 or 8, softball was the sport for me. I really enjoyed playing basketball and volleyball, softball was the sport I fell in love with from the beginning.”
Knotts, the daughter of Jeff Knotts and Kim Rogers, said that she has played some outfield in her career, but is most suited to play one position.
“For the most part, I have always played first base. That is where I feel the most comfortable and believe it is my strongest position,” she said. “That is where I hope to get a chance to play at Lincoln Trail.”
Rayven said that her mom played softball at Lincoln Trail for coach Gary Rodgers.
“Because of coach knowing my mom, they have always kept an eye on me and what I have been doing,” said Rayven. “Last year, coach’s daughter Amy contacted me and let me know they were interested and wanted to watch me play.
“They wanted to see me play in summer ball and follow me this spring, my senior year.”
Rayven added that she visited the campus and worked out with some of her future teammates.
“He liked the way I played,” said Knotts. “He thought I had potential.”
Knotts said she had not thought about having the chance to continue playing softball on the college level.
“It is very cool,” she said. “I know that Amy and Gary went out of their way to take a look at me because of my mom.
“I was very nervous when I knew they were watching. I was hoping I was not going to mess up. I had a good game that day.”
Knotts admits she is her own worst enemy.
“I am hard on myself,” she said. “I know I have never played a perfect game and never will.”
Knotts said that she is not a power hitter, but has a couple of home-run stories.
“In my freshman year, we were playing at Terre Haute South,” she said. “We did not know if the school was going to be open the next year or if we would have a softball program at all.
“It was rainy and cold and the conditions were not great for softball. We were just talking in the dugout and I said it would be cool if I hit one out. Sure enough, in my next at bat I hit one over the fence. Everybody was pretty shocked. I cried. They were tears of joy.”
Knotts said in summer ball, playing for Hugh Kinnard, she was in a hitting slump when her coach asked her to do something out of the ordinary.
“He told me to take off my glasses when I went up to bat,” she said. “I cannot see anything without them. He told me I had nothing to lose because I was hitting so poorly at the time.
“Believe or not, I went up to bat and hit a home run. Not just any home run, but a grand slam. Everyone just lost it.”
Rayven is going to study to be a registered nurse at LTC.
“I know how fortunate I am to have this opportunity to play softball and get my education,” she said. “They have a very good program at LTC. We will be going to Florida next year for our spring trip.
“I know that I will have a lot to do to prepare to play on the next level. It will definitely be a step up for me in competition. But I am prepared to put in the work to make the most of this chance. I am so thankful and thrilled. It is still unbelievable.”
Photo by LANA STRINGER: Dugger Union senior Rayven Knotts, front, second from left, signed a letter-of-intent to play softball at Lincoln Trail College on Wednesday morning. Also pictured, front, from left, are mother Kim Rogers, LTC coach Gary Rodgers and father Jeff Knotts; and, back, from left, are Dugger Union athletic director Steve Hall, DUCS assistant softball coach Mark Marlow and grandmother Dereta Rogers.