Jacksonville Daily Progress
Jeff Standley explained to the large crowd that had assembled inside the Troup High School library on Friday morning to witness his daughter, Katelyn Stanley, sign a National Letter of Intent to continue her softball career at Stephen F. Austin State University, that “your going to see more balls in the game of life than strikes...”
Well the game of life has served Miss Standley a big-fat juicy strike — that came in the form of a scholarship offer from SFA, a school that has long been very significant and dear to the Standley family — and Miss Standley has taken that offering and driven it over the proverbial fence, just as she done so many times throughout her playing career, which started on a Rusk City League youth team that was coached by Rodney Hugghins and that included Sydney Littlejohn (Rusk) and Tiarra Davis (Henderson) — Littlejohn signed with Alabama and Davis inked a letter with Texas this week as well.
Standley, a 5'4” 135-pound catcher, who drew serious recruiting attention from such prestigious programs as Texas A&M, Arkansas and Texas Tech, decided to ink with the Ladyjacks due to the family's rich history with the Nacogdoches institute and the school's close proximity to Jacksonville.
Katelyn Standley will be joined by two of her Texas Glory-Lusk (select softball) teammates, Brittany Lewis and Taylor LeFlore, which gives SFA a solid core of players that can have an immediate impact.
Katelyn Standley was an All-East Texas choice last season at Troup and was voted as the District 21-2A Most Valuable Player.
She hit .602 and belted 49 RBI and scored 49 runs to help guide the Lady Tigers to their first regional semi-final appearance in school history.
According to her high school coach, Samantha Weeks, Katelyn Standley's value to a team can not be measured by statistics alone.
“Katelyn really knows the game,” Weeks said. “When she is in a game she can read the situation and she knows when to hit the ball or when to bunt without having to be told.
“She is like having a coach on the field and the girls really look up to her and she is a great leader, both on and off the field.”
Jeff Standley acknowledged the importance of the day, not only for Katelyn, but for the entire family.
“This has been a long time in the making and it is a joyous occasion,” he said in a pre-signing address to the audience. “It (signing) is a mile stone in Katelyn's life, with a lot of dedication and sacrifice having been put forth.
“It's not only a fulfillment of Katelyn's, but (also) of her mother (Cheryl Standley) and I's dream.”
And while fatherly pride was very obvious to all, the reason for the pride may not have been so obvious.
“On this day today I am proud of her (Katelyn Standley) not because she's excelled in a sport that she has dedicated and committed herself to, but because of the life lessons that the game of softball has taught her,” Jeff Standley said in closing. “Those life lessons will carry her throughout life...and I really believe that.”