Five high school softball players from Jenks are heading to college on athletic scholarships. Each of the players signed national letters of intent for five different schools. It's a huge accomplishment -- and the girls doubt it could have happened without a big sports shake-up six years ago.
Kaitlin Allan is heading to Florida State; Dre McKee to Oklahoma State University. Erin Miller will play for the University of Oklahoma, Cheyanne Stone for Arkansas Tech and Darcy Taylor for Arizona.
"The whole reality of moving on to a D-1 college, playing at the next level, all of my 13-plus years of hard work finally paying off -- it's a dream come true," said Erin Miller, OU signee.
"Excitement," said Darcy Taylor, who will play for Arizona University. "Ready to be there, but I know I have a couple more months."
The city youth softball league these Lady Trojans grew up in almost derailed those dreams six years ago.
In 2005, the league wanted to stick with pitching machines instead of giving players experience with live-pitching.
"Going to machine-pitch would have probably destroyed softball; I don't agree with it," Taylor said.
Kim Hendrix thought that was undermining the high school program. She fought against the plan with other concerned parents -- and won.
Hendrix went on to turn the league around, and these girls were the first group to come out of that situation.
"This is the kind of result you get when the youth programs support the high school programs," said Kim Hendrix of the Jenks Softball Booster Club.
The high school program prides itself on defense, power pitchers and strong hitters. Parents, players and coaches agree -- those fundamentals start in the youth league.
"If we wouldn't have ever had player-pitch, the competitiveness wouldn't be there at all, which probably would have made a big difference in the college opportunities we have," said OU signee Erin Miller.
Seven Jenks High School softball players are graduating this year, and five received scholarships Friday.
As for the city softball league -- it fields about 35 teams a year, hosts several tournaments -- and it just keeps growing.