Katie Thornburg began playing tee-ball when she was just three-years old and growing up dreaming of one day playing college softball.
Those dreams were realized in February when she signed a national letter of intent to go to Brevard College and play for the Tornadoes.
Her choice came down to Western Carolina and Brevard, after she dismissed Appalachian State from her final two schools.
The reason for choosing Brevard was simple in Thornburgâ€™s eyes. From the moment she stepped on the campus she felt it was the perfect fit.
â€œI really liked the campus, and the girls and the coach were real nice. I just seemed to fit in real well with everybody,â€ she said.
The senior second baseman, as smart as she is on the field and off the field, is just as humble off it.
â€œIâ€™m a better defensive player. I am competitive and show good leadership,â€ she said.
Thornburg, who was the recipient of the Delta Kappa Gamma scholarship for future teachers and Legislature School nominee, was named to the Midwest 2Aâ€™s All-Conference team last season.
Getting to chance to play college softball is an opportunity she looks forward to.
â€œItâ€™s a really great feeling because this is something Iâ€™ve dreamed of since I was little. Iâ€™ve always wanted to play on a college team,â€ she said.
Her parents, Cathy and Calvin, are full of pride when it comes to their daughterâ€™ accomplishments on and off the field.
â€œWeâ€™re certainly very proud of her character, her strengths and her ability on and off the field,â€ said Calvin. â€œShe shows leadership on and off the field.â€
First-year Lady Rebelsâ€™ coach Mia Cooke raves about Thornburg, saying sheâ€™s as solid a person away from the diamond as she is on it.
â€œKatie does whatever sheâ€™s told to do without complaining, puts the team before herself and she gives well over 100-percent at practice, as well as in games. Whether weâ€™re up or down, she never gives up,â€ Cooke said.
The infielder is known for always staying positive and encouraging her teammates when theyâ€™re down.
She knows new challenges await her playing for the Tornadoes.
â€œI know Iâ€™m going to have to work harder to earn my playing time and to show the coach what I have,â€ Thornburg said. She listed earning a starting position as her number one goal.
Thornburg, who has a great work ethic, has worked hard and has had solid coaching over the years, knows none of this would be possible if it wasnâ€™t for God.
Still, playing the game she loves, especially after two surgeries on her shoulder, has given her that perspective.
â€œI think God played a big part because Heâ€™s helped me get through that while playing,â€ she said. â€œMy parents and my brother, Cale, and all my softball coaches that Iâ€™ve had have supported me.â€
Theyâ€™ve been there for her whenever she needed somebody to talk to and have helped her through the tough times, she said.
by John Mark Brooks