Riley's love of softball leads her to sign with Cumberlands

Photo by Emily Adams

North Laurel High School softball player Rebecca Riley signed to continue her post-secondary education and softball career at the University of the Cumberlands on Monday. Pictured standing in the back row from left to right are NLHS Softball Coach Doug Gregory, Carmichael Community Church Pastor Jeff Lewis, University of the Cumberlands Softball Coach Bailey Dillender, former NHLS Softball Coach Kyle Mink, NLHS Athletic Director Jimmy Durham, and seated from left to right are Kevin and Teresa Riley on either side of their daughter, Rebecca, and her brother Jaythus Riley.

At just five years old, Rebecca Riley fell in love with softball and that love has turned into a post-secondary education and a chance to continue her softball career.

The North Laurel High School senior signed with the University of the Cumberlands on Monday, where she was surrounded by her family, friends and North Laurel High School administration and coaches.

Though, Riley said she hasn't always wanted to play softball.

"I did gymnastics before I even thought about playing softball," Riley said.

Riley began playing on a tee-ball at five years old and said she hasn't stopped playing since.

Riley said she loves everything about softball.

"It's competitive and my entire family is competitive," she said. "It's something that I just happen to be good at, thanks to my family, God, all my friends helping me and the hard work."

The short stop has been playing for the North Laurel High School softball team since the eighth grade, while keeping a 3.8 GPA and being an active member of her church, Carmichael Community Church.

"It's actually really crazy to think that I'm a senior," she said. "It's literally been insane. I've made so many friends and I wouldn't even call them friends now--they're like family.

"My family and friends have supported me--it's been the best four years of my life."

University of the Cumberlands Softball Head Coach Bailey Dillender, who is in her second year as head coach of the Patriots softball team, said she was excited to bring Riley in to join the softball team at the University of the Cumberlands.

"It's always good when we can get local talent, especially in the 13th Region, to stay at home and play for us," she said. "As far as Becca's athletic ability, there's probably not a more athletic kid in the region. I think her ceiling is really, really high. It was a no-brainer for me.

"I think she could come in and have a substantial role for us as a freshman and that's always good."

Riley said she left her choice to go to the University of the Cumberlands all up to God.

"I told my mom 'mom, I don't know where I'm going to go to college, this is stressing me out,'" she said. "Finally, I said 'God this is seriously all in your hands, just point me to where I need to go.'"

Riley said after her first visit to the University of the Cumberlands she instantly fell in love.

"I would like to thank all the coaches I've had, my family, my friends, God, my church, my wonderful parents, my brothers--they're all amazing, they've helped me so much," she said. "I wouldn't be the player I am today without them."

eadams@sentinel-echo.com

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