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Paying it forward: Calipatria softball catcher achieves full ride scholarship

Lady Hornets Kylie Lyerly exceeds the expectation and is living her childhood dream with the help from her community.

CALIPATRIA, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - A dream come true for Calipatria Lady Hornets softball catcher, Kylie Lyerly.

She's got game and the brains. With a GPA of 3.97, Lyerly is going on a full ride academic and athletic scholarship to play for Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee Wisconsin.

"I don't know if you can tell, I cried a lot today," Lyerly said. "In all honesty this means so so much. I really didn't feel that I could go out and experience things outside of what I know which is the valley without getting this scholarship, without going and playing University softball. I mean that's something that you really don't hear people from Calipat doing so that means a lot, not only to me but my community as well."

Kylie Lyerly leading a dugout chat during CIF win over Maranatha Christian at Poway Sportsplex

Lyerly says she always knew she wanted to attend college and play softball but had to work for it.

"Over all, I'm going to school for free now," Lyerly said. "I don't have to pay for anything because of scholarships."

She had sponsors that saw her talent and helped pitch in for her to play travel ball to up her game.

"People were like, hey, I'm more than willing to help out a student athlete," Lyerly said. "So I'm grateful for all the people throughout my community that were like, 'hey, I really want to see you go far. Keep your grades up and let's do it."

Family and community members came to watch Lyerly sign her letter of intent and many said it's a big deal for their city.

Head Coach of the Calipatria softball team, Ted Hughes, said he knew Lyerly way before he was her coach. He taught her as a student her freshman year and says she was exceptional from day one.

"Honestly, top notch kid," Hughes said. "Honestly, I hope I have at least one more Kylie Lyerly in my career whether it be on the classroom or on the field before I'm all done."

Hughes describes Lyerly as tenacious.

"Some people might look at it as a negative thing but no," Hughes said. "She does not shy away from contact and I'm talking about on a daily basis whether it's just pouring a bowl of cereal. She will do the best she can in that moment and that's why I'm a Kylie Lyerly fan."

Her mom, Adriana Lyerly said Kylie has a very big heart and when she sets her mind to it, she's going to do very big things.

"One thing I told her too is, you come back and you give back to this community," Adriana said. "A lot of the people that helped her out are the same people that came to school here and that are giving back to the community because they want it to keep going on. So a Hornet once, a hornet forever, a Hornet in our heart."

Lyerly says she chose to attend Stritch because her new coach not only cared about her, but also her family and that was a game changer.

"Other coaches were great, were awesome speaking one on one but really none of them asked to speak to my parents," Lyerly said. "The fact that my coach was like, I need to speak to your parents. I was like, okay, she wants to get my family involved, she wants to make sure that I'm going to be secured throughout the way and I noticed it not only started with her, but with the school as well."

She said she's going to miss the memories she's made in Calipatria with the girls on her team.

"I'm going to miss those girls and each of their different personalities because I had a relationship with each and every one of them," Lyerly said. "None of them were the same and that's something I like about Calipat is even though we're so small, there's a different relationship with each person that you meet and it's never going to be the same."

Lyerly said she learned that it's not always easy working with a bunch of girls, but is worth it.

She's excited for this next chapter and departs to Wisconsin on August 20th.

"Cardinal Stritch is better today, their softball program and their university because they have Kylie Lyerly," Hughes said.

Article Topic Follows: High School Sports
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Vanessa Gongora

Vanessa Gongora joined the KYMA News 11 team in 2021.

You can contact her with story ideas at vanessa.gongora@kecytv.com

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