Softball dream continues for Cole

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Cassville senior Tori Cole sign a national letter of intent to play softball next season at North Arkansas College in Harrison Ark., next year. Front row, from left: Priscilla Craig, mother; Cole; and Carroll Craig, father. Second row: Richard Asbill, Cassville superintendent; Shawn Johnson, Cassville softball coach; Seychelle Mahoney, North Arkansas coach; and Keith Robertson, Cassville assistant principal. Jared Lankford/sports@cassville-democrat.com

Cassville standout inks with Arkansas college

A large group of friends, family and teammates watched on Friday as Cassville softball standout Tori Cole signed her national letter of intent to play softball at North Arkansas College in Harrison, Ark., next season.

"The one thing about Tori is her work ethic," said Shawn Johnson, Cassville softball coach. "She really worked hard this year to be a leader for us on a team that had a lot of freshmen. She stepped up and took on that role."

The post-secondary choice became clear for Cole once she visited the campus in Harrison.

"The campus is really beautiful, you get a lot of one-on-one in classes and the class size is small," Cole said. " I really like the coach [Seychelle Mahoney]. She cares about the players and really wants to help you, even when things get rough."

For Cole, softball has always been her passion.

"I like the competition and how fast paced it gets," Cole said. "I also like my teammates. Without them I wouldn't be where I am right now."

Cole spent her summers being groomed in travel ball by Jeff Swadley, and she used those skills to help Johnson and the Lady Wildcats team.

This season, as Cassville's leadoff hitter, she hit .375 with a .429 on-base percentage and scored 11 runs in 18 games.

"You've got to have a hard work ethic and the desire to play at the next level," Johnson said. "She is a tremendous leadoff hitter and has developed into a lethal slap hitter. She dedicated herself to getting better, and that's what she did this season."

For Coach Mahoney, she sees a player that can come in and make the Lady Wolves better right away.

"She comes from an outstanding high school program," Mahoney said. "She is a humble player and fits what we are building at North Arkansas. Coming from a great family and with her drive, I think you'll see a very successful player emerge from our program."

When it comes to the dedication needed to make a college softball a reality, Cole offered some advice.

"To be able to go to play college softball you have to have that hardworking skill," Cole said. "Your head has to be in the game. Don't let things get between you and your goal and follow through."

Cole is the daughter of Priscilla Craig and Carroll Craig, and Truman Cole. She plans to major in the education field.

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