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It’s Pittsburgh for Troup’s Lane

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

When game time arrived, she was always there.

For four seasons, Kayla Lane was a fixture in the lineup and at shortstop for the Troup High softball team, and she enjoyed a remarkable career.

“Whatever was ailing her, she said put me in, I’m good to go,” said Kayla Yeargin, who was promoted from assistant to head coach before the 2018 season. “If something was sore, she’d work it out on her own. It was that kind of dedication, that you could rely on. It’s huge.”

That good work didn’t go unnoticed.

Lane received interest from numerous colleges, including the University of Pittsburgh, which plays in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Lane explored her options, and she decided that Pittsburgh was the right fit.

Lane committed to Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, and she made it official this week when she signed a letter of intent during a ceremony in the Troup High media center with friends, family members, teammates and coaches there to celebrate the moment with her.

For Lane, the opportunity to play college softball at the highest level was something she couldn’t pass up.

“I’ve always wanted to play at the Division I level,” Lane said. “Then this opportunity came. It’s been my dream to always do that.”

Pittsburgh began recruiting Lane late in the game.

It wasn’t until late in October, in fact, that Lane had any contact with the folks from Pittsburgh.

“They met my coach at the state tournament, that unfortunately we weren’t at,” Lane said. “They were talking about how they brought in a new coaching staff and they were looking for some more infielders. That’s when my coach mentioned me, and (Pittsburgh’s coach) started talking to me about it. I never thought anything would come of it, and I went up there on my official visit, and I just fell in love with it. I liked the coaches, and the atmosphere.”

Pittsburgh is getting a player who was not only there every day, but produced in a big way.

After two strong seasons to begin her high-school career, including her freshman season when she got to play alongside her sister Hannah, Kayla Lane had a breakout junior year while helping lead Troup to the state tournament.

Lane hit .404 with 13 doubles, two home runs and 22 RBIs, and she enjoyed a memorable three-game stretch in the region playoffs against Cartersville. Lane had seven hits, two home runs including a grand slam, and 13 RBIs to lead Troup past Cartersville in the best-of-three series.

Troup won two of those games, guaranteeing Troup a spot in the state tournament.

Lane capped her prep career by hitting .449 with two home runs, two triples, eight doubles and 21 RBI last season.

Beyond the numbers, Yeargin said part of what made Lane so valuable was “her leadership, and the way she was dedicated, and the work she put in. Hopefully that will trickle down to these young girls so that she continues to benefit the program even when she’s gone.”

For Lane, being a part of the Troup High family has been a special experience.

“I loved every minute of it,” Lane said. “I got to play every inning of every game. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Lane is also, though, eager to begin this next journey that will take her to Pennsylvania, 750 miles away from her hometown.

“I’ll definitely miss Troup High,” Lane said. “It’s like a family here, and everybody is supporting you 100 percent. But I’m also really excited to see what the future holds.”