Faught pitch (copy)

Vinton County’s Abby Faught signed a letter of intent to continue her softball career at Rio Grande University. But before she steps on campus, she has one final season left as a Viking.

MCARTHUR — Ever since she started playing, Vinton County’s Abby Faught has been pursuing a dream to play softball at the college level.

And now those dreams have officially turned into her reality as she signed a letter of intent to further her softball career at Rio Grande University.

“Rio has been a school I have been looking at since my sophomore year,” Faught said. “The coaching staff is always pushing you to make you the best you possibly can be not only on the field but in the classroom also, and it was the right fit for me.”

I wouldn’t be here without my teammates having my back on the field and (Vinton County) Coach (Jeremy) Ward, who has been my coach since seventh grade. He is constantly pushing me to do better and I know I can depend on him to always tell me how to get better how to improve my game. I couldn’t thank him enough for being the coach he is.”

The last time Faught took the softball field was her sophomore year in 2019, she finished 7-8 in the circle with a 3.06 earned run average while striking out 72 batters.

But she was dangerous at the dish, ending with a .368 batting average with 28 hits including a pair of home runs, eight doubles, 28 hits total and 14 RBIs.

That 2019 team was very young, and poised to make a run at a TVC championship last season before the pandemic shut everything down.

”Going into a varsity level was a big change for everyone then, but we still continued to compete and strive to be the TVC champs,” Faught said. “In my opinion, I think we could have been conference champs last season if we had the season.”

Faught will be joining a Red Storm squad that finished 12-12 for the pandemic shutdown, but went 36-16 in the 2018-19 season.

But before her dream of donning a college uniform become true, she has one final season as a Viking. A season in which she has high expectations for.

”I’ve worked on all aspects of the game but my main focus is pitching,” Faught said. “There’s nothing like being in the circle and controlling the game to my favor. With the work I’ve put in, I know I can be one of the top pitchers in the TVC this year.”

She’ll have plenty of help with players like Sydney Smith, Kerrigan Ward, Rylee Ousley, Taylor Houdasheldt and others back into the fold this year.

Those players have been playing or starting varsity since their freshman year, much like Faught, and she says that this is their year.

”I want to be that pitcher that no team wants to face, and dominant in the circle every night while {span}having an awesome season at the plate,” Faught said. “I’ve set high goals for myself this year, but the ultimate goal since my first varsity start freshman year was to win the TVC, and this is the year it has to be done.”

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