Three Decatur High School seniors recently signed National Letters of Intent to take their softball talents to the collegiate level.
Four-year varsity letter softball player Maclairen Magruder, Jenna Bettge and Ainsley Yoshizumi celebrated with family, friends, coaches and Decatur faculty on Jan. 17 at the school.
Magruder signed to George Fox University while Bettge committed to Skagit Valley College, and Yoshizumi signed to attend the University of Rhode Island next fall.
National Letter of Intent signings are a process for student-athletes to commit to Division 1-3 universities and community colleges for continuation of their academic and athletic careers, said Terry Jenks, athletic director at Decatur High School.
“This is literally your representation of the heart, soul and brains of the Decatur softball team,” Gators softball head coach Mike David said, motioning to Bettge, Magruder, then Yoshizumi. “If you had to pick one.”
Bettge plays emotionally, David said, reminiscing on past games where he watched her set the tone of every game for herself and her teammates, and get especially fired up on the field during a tough competition.
“She plays with a good amount of emotion — which you should,” said David, who is entering his third year as head coach.
Bettge has been the Gators starting pitcher for the past two seasons, and is also talented in the outfield and on second base. She is also a two-year varsity letter recipient and earned a varsity letter on swim team her sophomore year.
Magruder is the soul of the team and brings a certain amount of passion to the sport, David said. An anchor on third base, Magruder has a way of connecting with players of all skill levels when instructing and helping others refine their skills. Along with Second Team NPSL honors last season, Magruder earned more RBIs than anyone else on the team, David noted.
When it comes to playing mindfully, Yoshizumi is the smartest player David said he’s ever met.
“She knows how to do the tiny little things that make a player great, as opposed to good,” David shared with the crowd. Yoshizumi dominates first base and the outfield, along with being the North Puget Sound League leader in home runs last year and a multitude of first- and second-team NPSL appearances.
All three of these student-athletes are solid hitters, statistically batting better than 300, David said, and have both infield and outfield capabilities.
Aside from the softball diamond, these student-athletes shine in extracurriculars, said Decatur Principal Jamie Tough, noting each of the seniors takes Advanced Placement classes, works a part-time job outside of school and they also dedicate themselves to their school community through student leadership. Last year, Yoshizumi also served as the Decatur ASB vice president and is the ASB president this school year.
“I’m very proud,” David said. “But to be perfectly honest with you, these three were all so skilled when I got here …I expect they will have the same success in their next endeavors.”