By Josh Beavers
Two local high school seniors will play softball at the next level following a signing ceremony held Wednesday morning at THE Doyline High School.
Layla Baker and Lexi Normand signed to play for the University of Arkansas Rich Mountain in Mena during a special event at school.
“I’ve been coaching these two virtually nonstop since they were 7-8 years old,” Doyline coach Michael Normand told The Journal. “I’ve coached them in softball, basketball and even soccer. These two have played on so many different teams together – league softball, All-stars, travel ball, jr. high softball, varsity softball, upwards basketball, jr. high basketball, varsity basketball, track and soccer. If there ever were two athletes that define the word ‘teammates’ it’s these two.”
The coach said an athlete signing is the proudest day a coach can have. “As a dad and coach, it’s a roller coaster of emotions. These two will forever be linked, and I think it’s only fitting that they chase their dreams together.”
Layla Baker told The Journal that she gives all credit to God for this opportunity. She also wanted to thank those who helped her reach this day.
“I just want to really give a shout-out to the coaches I’ve had which would include Mr. Watson, Coach Hayes and especially Coach Normand,” she said. “And I have to thank my school for always supporting me.”
Lexi Normand said the signing, and playing together, was a dream she and her friend have had since they were children.
“We realized there was a slim chance we could attend the same college and playing softball,” she told us. “But clearly that was God’s plan all along. We were on different teams when we made this decision. I had caught interest in Arkansas Rich Mountain during the summer, having no idea Layla did, too. Then within the same month, we both committed there. Clearly our journey together wasn’t meant to be over yet.”
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