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Koonce signs to play softball at Lincoln Trail


FARMERSBURG — The 2019 North Central softball team had its fourth player sign to play college softball.
On Wednesday, Ladybirds outfielder Sarah Koonce signed a letter-of-intent with Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Illinois.
LTC softball coach Gary Rodgers had already signed North Central utility player Morgan Manning.
“We have now signed 16 players,” said Rodgers. “When you are losing half your roster every year, you are always on the road recruiting.
“We feel very good about being able to sign Sarah. As a athlete, I think she has room to grow. She is a very good kid who had a great work ethic. We expect good things from Sarah as a student-athlete at Lincoln Trail.”
North Central softball coach Erica Arnold said she is happy for Koonce and coach Rodgers.
“It is always nice to have a player sign with my former coach,” Arnold said of Rodgers. “Sarah was the kind of kid that did everything that we asked of her and never stopped trying to improve.
“She worked very hard and never questioned what we asked her to do. I am very happy for her. I believe that Lincoln Trail got a good person and a good player.”
Koonce, who plans on majoring in social work, batted .364 as a senior in limited plate appearances.
“This is like a dream come true,” said Koonce, the daughter of Travis and Amy Vansickle. “I was planning on going to Indiana State just as a student.
“I feel very fortunate to have this second chance to play softball and start working on my degree.”
Koonce is prepared for the adjustments she will have to make to play on the next level.
“I am going to have to work harder,” she said. “I will have to get faster.
“Also, I know I will have to work on my hitting.”
Arnold said that Koonce should be able to contribute at LTC.
“I think Sarah can play right away,” said Arnold. “I know that she will do everything she can to make the most of this opportunity.”
Rodgers has the same advice for all of his freshmen.
“I tell all the girls that academics come first,” he said. “I tell them to make good decisions as they are going to be away from home for the first time.
“They are now totally responsible for themselves. We want them to become both productive citizens and productive ball players. Whether they go on and play two more years after LTC or not, their lives will start soon enough. We want to prepare them for that.”

Photo by B.J. HARGIS: North Central senior Sarah Koonce, front, center, is all smiles after she signed a letter-of-intent to play softball at Lincoln Trail College. She is surrounded by her parents Travis and Amy Vansickle,  Back, from left, are North Central assistant coach Ron Miller, North Central head coach Erica Arnold, LTC head coach Gary Rodgers, stepbrother Sammy Vansickle and LTC assistant coach Rita Corder.

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