Kaleiah Tatlonghari signs letter of intent to play college softball for Mesa Community College
YUMA, Ariz. ( KYMA, KECY-TV ) - Kaleiah Tatlonghari's mother, Cristol, first introduced her daughter to organized sports when Kaleiah was seven years old.
"She started in soccer when we lived in Texas," Cristol said. "We moved to Yuma when she was nine and I enrolled her in softball. She's been playing ever since."
It's a game Kaleiah quickly fell in love with. She played as much as she could and even played on a travel team out of San Diego for a few years.
"We made that trip back and forth a couple times a week," Cristol said. " Then Kaleiah kind got burned out a little when she was 16 so we stopped."
It didn't burn out the passion Kaleiah has for the game. She hopes to play DI somewhere and is excited for the chance to play for Mesa Community College who have members of the coaching staff with DI experience. She's also happy to be going to Phoenix with one of her teammates.
"I can go from JUCO to DI so I'm going to try to go DI," Kaleiah said. "We'll see where that goes. Also one of my closest friends, Alanie, is going. We're going to move in together, experience the college life together but I'm excited to plat at the next level I've always wanted to, It's been a dream since i was a little kid."
Kaleiah credits her coaches and teammates for helping her achieve another step in making her dream a reality.
"A lot of discipline, a lot of discipline," Kaleiah said. "I love the program, it's made me who I am today."
Cibola softball head coach Shelly Baumann says Kaleiah is the kind of player any coach is lucky to have.
"Kaleiah has been a four year starter for Cibola," Baumann said. "She is a go-getter from day one when she came here. What is so great about Kaleiah is that she is so versatile."
Kaleiah is currently the Cibola Raiders catcher but she also plays third base, shortstop, second base and outfield. She plans to get into the nursing field and is already CNA certified.