LIMA - The University of Northwestern Ohio softball coach Tracy Coffman has been piling up the miles putting together recruits for the Lady Racers. But to find the first player in program history, Coffman didn't have to leave Lima.
On Tuesday at Racer Gymnasium, Morgan Truxal signed her NAIA Letter of Intent to compete with the Lady Racers when they begin play in the 2013-14 season. Truxal recently completed an outstanding high school career at nearby Shawnee High School.
"Morgan is the total package; she's an excellent student, she's an excellent, very skilled softball player, and she was an integral part of the recent success at Shawnee," Coffman said. "I want to bring in the best softball players. The fact she is local is an added bonus. If she was from two hours away, she is the same type of softball player I would recruit."
For Truxal, though, the proximity to home played a big role in helping her decide where to play. The facilities, which are currently under construction, also drew her interest.
"I saw the baseball field, and coach Coffman told me the softball field was going to be exactly like that," Truxal said. "I'm so excited. It's so beautiful."
To view a photo gallery of the field and facilities, follow this link.
Truxal was named to the All-Western Buckeye League and the All-Northwest District teams three times each. The Indians won three straight district titles during her sophomore, junior and senior years, playing in the regional final game last season.
"I hope to carry that to the team at UNOH," Truxal said of the success at Shawnee. "It's college and it's a new level, it's a harder game. I love the challenge. It's going to be a lot of fun with coach Coffman and the other recruits."
As a senior, Truxal batted .527 with 31 RBIs, 15 runs and seven stolen bases; she also went 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA. Truxal batted .468 as a junior, hitting three home runs with 29 RBIs, 17 runs and five stolen bases. She totaled seven home runs, 101 RBIs, 59 runs and 25 stolen bases in four seasons.
Truxal will begin classes at UNOH this fall, and while play doesn't officially begin until the next athletic calendar, she will work out with the other UNOH varsity student-athletes and have time to become adjusted to the college atmosphere. Coffman said there are already other student-athletes on campus who plan to play softball as well.
"I'm proud of coach Coffman and her ability to seek out elite local talent like Morgan," UNOH athletic director Chris Adams said. "We are excited that Morgan chose UNOH, and we're even more excited that she's a local recruit."
For the time being, Truxal will be the face of the UNOH softball program. Coffman said she didn't consider making sure the first player she recruited was a good person and good student once she met Truxal.
"When I met her, I felt she fit all of the criteria to represent us," Coffman said.
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