CENTRE — Softball is something that’s been a huge part of Cherokee County High School senior pitcher Alana Loyd’s life, from camps to travel ball to tournaments almost every weekend.
On Friday evening, all the work Loyd has put into softball paid off. She officially secured the opportunity to continue playing in college.
Loyd signed a scholarship with Shorter University in Rome, Ga. Her signing party was held at the Gridiron restaurant in Centre, with several special people in attendance that helped Loyd earn the chance to continue her softball career.
“My dad (Bobby Loyd) practiced with me every day. He’s always been like ‘Have you pitched today? You better go do it right now.’
“I could not believe a coach who I haven’t seen in seven years showed up. When I used to play travel ball in Georgia, he came and I was like ‘Wow, I did not expect that.’ (Former Lady Warrior) Coach (Drew) Hall came too, and I haven’t seen him since I was a freshman. I was not expecting all of that,” Loyd said.
“I’ve always wanted to play college ball, so I was really excited when I figured out I was going to be able to. I was kind of worried at first. I was like ‘Is this really going to happen? Am I actually going to play college ball, or is this just a fun summer thing.’ It worked out.”
One of those softball coaches who’s made an impact on Loyd’s career is Cherokee County High School coach Brad Weaver.
“It has been a true honor to coach Alana and watch her grow over these past few years,” Weaver said. “She is a leader both on and off the field. Her passion and drive for softball is infectious. She is the definition of a team player and always goes above and beyond to see her teammates succeed.
“She’s always the first to show up and the last to leave at practice. Her sportsmanship and her desire to continue improving is what sets her apart from the crowd.”
As a sophomore in 2019, Loyd went 14-7 in the circle with a 1.88 ERA for the Lady Warriors. She also batted .322 at the plate. Like all other schools across the nation in 2020, Loyd’s junior softball season was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But shortly before the coronavirus outbreak occurred, Loyd had already made her decision to commit to the Lady Hawks’ softball program.
“I wanted to go to a Christian school that wasn’t too big,” she said. “I did not want to go to a DI school. I like smaller schools. I like more one-on-one (instruction). It’s really close to home, which I like. I just like the campus and all the people and the coaches.”
Loyd said she’s glad to have already signed her scholarship. Now she can just concentrate on the remainder of her senior year, which will hopefully
include playing with the Lady Warriors on the softball diamond one more time.
“It’s nowhere near as stressful thinking ‘Oh God, I’ve got to go to this camp and that camp. I’ve got to email this coach,'” Loyd said. “Now that I know I’m going to Shorter, I don’t have to worry about applying to 10 different colleges. It’s so much easier now and less stressful. I can just worry about my senior year classes and softball. We just finished our travel ball season last weekend, and I didn’t have that much to stress about while we were playing in tournaments. I could just enjoy it.”
Weaver said Loyd is “beyond deserving of the opportunity” to play college softball.
“I couldn’t be more excited for Alana to follow her passion and play softball at the college level,” Weaver said. “I know she will do great things.”