By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Ever since Stillwater High School senior Brittney Lockett first picked up a softball, she had one goal in mind — to play at the collegiate level.
So when the time came for Lockett to sign her national letter of intent to play next year at Vernon College in Vernon, Texas, it’s understandable why she accidentally signed on the wrong line.
“I call that being Brittney Lockett,” Stillwater coach Amber Davis said. “I had just got done telling her where to sign, but that was just her nervousness and excitement in trying to get stuff done. That’s just Lockett.”
Lockett officially dotted all her I’s and crossed her T’s — on the right line — Thursday to make what has been a lifelong dream come true when she signed to play at Vernon next season.
“I’m so excited I’m still shaking,” Lockett said. “It means a lot to me. I’ve been working for this ever since I was little. This is my dream.”
It was a dream that started last year, with a little encouragement from Davis — who was an assistant at Vernon from 2003 to 2005.
“Last year I went to a tryout there and visited the campus,” Lockett said. “But they had a different coach. My coach, Amber, coached there a while back so she contacted (Jenkins). He came and watched me and gave me an offer. It was amazing.”
Jenkins said he had only heard rumors about Lockett’s talent before seeing her play, but as soon as he saw Lockett actually play in a game he was sold.
“(She has) versatility and quickness,” Jenkins said. “When I saw her play the first time, I kind of showed up without her knowing I was there at the ballpark based on (Davis) contacting me and her having ties to the school. But I like getting a chance to see them play when you don’t know you’re there. It gives you a better read of how the kids really perform under pressure.”
Now it appears Lockett will get a chance to perform under more pressure in college. Jenkins said he expects Lockett to compete for one of the starting middle infielder roles, adding that he may call on her to pitch in a pinch.
“She’s in a pretty good sized class because we lose everybody every two years,” Jenkins said. “It’s a class where she’s going to get an opportunity to play right off the bat and definitely compete to play right off the bat. We try to go two deep at every position. We’re losing our second baseman and I’ll be putting a freshman at shortstop this year. There will be plenty of room for her to come in and compete right off the bat. You never know, we might even ask her to pitch if we get in a jam.”
It seems like Lockett has been waiting a lifetime for this opportunity — and in reality she has. Now her future is set and she can finally relax and enjoy the rest of her senior year at Stillwater.
“It’s been a while, but it feels good to get it over with,” Lockett said. “I hope to be successful enough to get to the next level, that’s my next goal.”
For Davis, just seeing Lockett sign with Vernon was enough to make her normally broad smile even wider.
“As a coach it makes you proud when these kids finish their high school career and are able to be seen by colleges,” Davis said. “It’s a very emotional, proud day as a coach. ... She’s done a complete 180 on me. She’s turned into a nice young lady and she’s going to go down there and represent Stillwater well and kick some butt.”