By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (November 10, 2016) — Sami Shaffer will be a Tarleton TexAnn.
The Stephenville senior shortstop signed a letter of commitment to Tarleton Thursday morning in the lobby of SHS, where she helped the Honeybee softball team to a record season in 2016 with hopes of reaching new heights again in 2017.
“I just want to get back where we did last year and prove we’re even better, take the next step,” said Shaffer after signing her commitment letter in front of teammates and administrators as she sat between her mother, Tarleton faculty member Kelli Shaffer, and her high school head coach, Rus Mayes. “I just want to remain humble and try to be a leader for our team.”
Mayes says it’s a year-round commitment to the sport that has made Shaffer so successful.
“She has talent, that’s obvious, but what sets Sami apart from other girls with talent is her work ethic and her commitment,” said Mayes. “She always works to improve and she plays the game year-round with us and with her select team in Fort Worth.”
Shaffer wasn’t always so sure about Tarleton. Like many high school students exploring college possibilities, she strongly considered getting away from home.
“At first, I didn’t want to go to Tarleton, but then I toured the campus a couple times with (her mother) and I loved it, it’s perfect,” she says. “I saw the team play and I met them and Coach (Mark) Cumpian, and it’s just a perfect fit for me.”
Shaffer played shortstop for Stephenville last season after becoming a staple in the Honeybee outfield as a freshman and sophomore. Last season, she hit .422 with an on-base percentage of .532 while scoring 35 runs and driving in 32. She had 38 hits including 17 for extra bases – nine doubles, five triples and three home runs.
Stephenville is coming off its first outright district championship and its first area championship on the diamond. The Honeybees were eliminated by Kennedale in the regional quarterfinals.
While those were all big steps forward for Mayes and his program, he says sending girls on to play collegiately is big, too.
“We’ve done this three times since I’ve been here, and hopefully we’ll be doing it a lot more,” said Mayes. “When a girl like Sami signs to play college ball and gets to do it in front of her friends and teammates, you hope that makes them realize they can do this, too, and it gives them something to work toward.”