LEESVILLE – Three Leesville players will continue their athletic careers after signing National Letters of Intent to their respective schools.
Wampus Cat pitcher Johnathan Harmon and Lady Cat infielders Keyana Poteat and Ryleigh Hicks will play at the next level following their senior seasons.
Harmon signed to pitch at Northwestern State University, something he has been aiming for for a long time.
"It's a dream come true, basically," Harmon said. "I worked my whole life for this moment right here. To enjoy it with my friends and family means everything to me.
"It was really fun visiting all of these colleges and universities."
Harmon was a first-team all-district selection as junior for the Wampus Cats and hopes to build on it for a successful senior campaign.
"Any opportunity to keep playing the game they love is a great opportunity," Leesville head baseball coach Kyle Walter said.
"There isn't a whole lot that isn't special about him. He has strong moral character and is a hard worker. He just loves to compete and challenge guys."
The Demons went 38-24 last season and ended their season in the regionals against LSU. Harmon says the feeling around the program is what attracted him to the school.
"It's a family atmosphere, and that's what I like about them," Harmon said. "It's a tough, gritty program, and that is what I'm about.
"A family atmosphere creates a bond between your teammates – your brothers. That's what you have to have when you're competing."
Poteat signed to play two years at the University of Louisiana Eunice, a successful junior college which has won five national championships, including back-to-back in 2016-17.
"It feels good to sign," Poteat said. "I always wanted this as a kid. My dream has finally come true.
"I like the atmosphere over there. The coach is really cool, the girls are really cool and I'm cool. I think it's going to be a good fit for me."
Poteat, a shortstop, was a Class 4A Honorable Mention and all-district selection last season, due to her lethal bat.
"Keyana's bat is brutal," Leesville head softball coach Betty Hicks said. "It's lethal. It's definitely her game. She is a solid defensive players, but her bat is dominant."
Poteat says the coaches at LSUE want her to get more vocal, which will help her at the next level.
"I have to really get better at talking on the field," she said. "That's what I lack in the most."
Ryleigh Hicks is staying close to home to play infield at Louisiana College in Pineville next year. Hicks plans to study pre-law when she gets on campus.
"It was actually really important," she said. "I knew where I wanted to be, so played a lot into where I went.
"They have a really good program in what I'm looking for. My way to softball was education first and then softball. LC offered me both of what I wanted."
Hicks was a first-team all-district selection as a utility player for the Lady Cats last season.
"She's a solid contact hitter," Betty Hicks said. "She's not a huge power hitter, but a solid contact hitter. She's the one that is going to put the ball in play for a teammate. She is probably the most unselfish teammate that I know."
Before Ryleigh steps on campus as a student-athlete, she wants to help Leesville have a successful 2019 season.
"I definitely have more team goals than personal goals," she said. "I just want to be more of a team this season and achieve things that haven't been achieved before."
Betty Hicks says having two of her girls sign opens up the eyes of all the athletes at the school, beyond just the softball players.
"When all the kids see these kids have the opportunity makes them realize that it is not just the elite athletes that can go to college," she said. "If you are a strong, consistent athlete, you can go to college. There's a college for everybody, and it's a means to an education."