MIAMI — Rebecca Bell never thought she would be playing college softball.
But she is, and it will be with one of the nation’s elite junior college programs: Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.
Bell, the Lady Wardogs’ starting centerfielder, signed a softball letter of intent with the Lady Norse Tuesday, Dec. 12.
“It’s really exciting,” Bell said. “I hadn’t planned on playing college softball until about a month or two ago.”
Bell didn’t play at all as freshman and hit .143 while serving mostly in a pinch runner role as a sophomore.
She started in center her sophomore year, hitting .523, then exploded this past season.
“This shows how hard she has worked, the heart that she has had and the love she has for the game,” said Miami coach Lauren Strack, who also assists her father, Eric Iverson with the Lady Norse program. “I don’t know that I have seen a kid make this much of a drastic of an improvement and get a full ride to play softball.”
Bell was named to the Oklahoma Fast-Pitch Coaches Association all-region team and was selected as the offensive player of the year in District 4A-5.
She was selected as an all-state alternate.
A two-year starter, Bell hit .615 for the Lady Wardogs, collecting 59 hits in 96 plate appearances.
She had 29 bunt/infield singles, 29 base hits and a double. Bell scored 42 of the 102 times she reached base.
Bell drove in nine runs, stole 26 bases, walked three times and had just six strikeouts.
“It’s absolutely incredible,” Strack said. “If would have told me this kid was going to go on and play college softball, I would tell you that you are crazy.”
Bell placed in three events at the Class 4A state track meet in Catoosa.
She was second in the girls’ 200-meter dash, third in the 100 and teamed with Emie Haile, Abby Ishmael and Qimeng Li to place third in the girls’ 4x100-meter relay.
“We like her because of her speed, but she’s a really good athlete, too,” Iverson said. “She has developed so much the last two years offensively and defensively. She has put herself in a position to where that development will continue.
“I see her as a really, really good collegiate player.”
Iverson also is surprised at the progress Bell has made in just two years.
“It’s hard. There’s not many that have,” he said. “The speed helps her get there obviously, but that is one of her resources.
“She adds speed to our roster, which is a tremendous resource. She is really dangerous on the offensive side.”