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Walker selects school

LINDEN — Marengo Academy softball standout Amber Walker wants to win a state championship this season. Now, thanks to a verbal commitment she made last week to play collegiately for Faulkner State in Mobile, that championship is the only softball-related quest weighing on her mind.

“Now I don’t have to worry about impressing any scouts or anything,” she said. “So now I can focus more on winning that state championship.”

Walker, a power-hitting catcher for the Longhorns, figures to provide a middle-of-the-order bat and defensive versatility to her future team.

“They’re going to get an outstanding player,” Marengo Academy head coach Todd Mathis said. “She’s been playing for us since the sixth grade at the varsity level.” Mathis emphasized that Walker is a tremendous team-oriented player who is capable of playing both catcher and first base.

“It’s very comforting knowing you’ve got her wherever you’ve got her on defense,” Mathis said.

Still, the most remarkable aspect of her game is likely the run production she offers at the plate.

“She hit one at Clarke-Prep in February when it was about 30 degrees outside that was 220 feet plus,” Mathis said, recalling one of Walker’s home runs from the 2008 season. “You can’t hardly get a golf ball that far when it’s that cold.”

Like Walker, Mathis is also pleased with the early date at which Walker, one of his senior leaders, made the decision regarding where she will continue her softball career.

“That’s huge,” Mathis said. “She won’t be worried about what’s going to happen to her. I’m tickled that she got this out of the way.”

For Walker, the decision was in many ways a no-brainer.

“I got an opportunity and I just took it,” Walker said of the offer she received from the Sun Chiefs. Her commitment to Faulkner State will reunite her with former Longhorn teammate Ashley Stokes, who signed with the program at the conclusion of her senior campaign.

“I miss Ashley. Me and her were real close,” Walker said. “So it’s pretty cool that I get to play with her one more time. I’ve always wanted to play college (softball) and Ashley talked it up a lot. I guess I’m just following my big sister’s footsteps.”

Faulkner State’s Bay Minette location also held a great deal of appeal for Walker.

“I like it because it’s like Linden. It’s real small,” Walker said.

The fact that the school is located very close to the beach also did not hurt the program’s pitch to Walker.

“I love the beach,” Walker said.

While she is excited about the opportunity to continue her playing career, Walker is not ready to commit to the idea of playing beyond the junior college level.

“I’ll see how my studies go handling it,” Walker, who intends on going into veterinary medicine, said of the prospect of balancing academics and athletics at the college level.

“She knows this is just a means to an end for her,” Mathis said of Walker’s grasp of the role softball plays in her life. “But there’s no doubt she can play at a four-year school.”

For now, Walker is just happy with the decision she has made and is intently focused on finishing what the Longhorns started when they fell to Lowndes Academy in the championship round of the AISA playoffs last season.

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