BRYANT – Bryant Lady Hornet senior Kayla Jolley is joining a former Lady Hornet as she signed a letter of intent to play for the Ouachita Baptist University Lady Tigers on Wednesday at Bryant High School. Jolley joins former Bryant softball player Carly Yazza as a Lady Tiger.
“I’m so excited joining Carly because we’ve been best friends for years,” Jolley said. “It’ll help me get used to the environment. She can teach me the ropes so I can be relaxed and not stress about stuff.”
Keeping her cool was definitely a strength of Jolley this past season as Bryant Coach Debbie Clark said whether the Lady Hornets were up or down big, Jolley’s expression never changed. Jolley also got her chance to play after a plethora of all-state players left a team which won three 7A State Championships.
“She’s one of those players that will definitely leave a legacy,” Clark said of Jolley. “Her first couple years on the team, she was behind an incredible group of players. When they graduated, her time had come. She had a couple of choices. She could have been like, ‘Well, now it’s my time. I’m probably going to start. She’s going to need me,’ and have that attitude, or, ‘Now it’s my time. I’m going to show coach I’m ready.’ That’s what she did and had an incredible year for us as a junior. And she played a couple different positions for us and I was really, really proud of the way she performed.”
Jolley, who pitched for the Lady Hornets this past season, said she’s glad her decision was made and she can move on.
“It means a bunch,” she said of playing at the next level. “It really opens my eyes because I worked so hard for it. I’ve put so much time and effort into it. It’s kind of a relief because I don’t have to stress about it. It’s been lifted off my shoulders.”
Jolley batted .350 for the Lady Panthers last season with a home run and 10 RBI, and also had a .443 on-base percentage. In the circle, she struck out 42 while walking just 12. Jolley said UCA and Henderson State were options for her, but OBU was the place for her.
“When I went to OBU I just fell in love with it,” Jolley said. “It felt like a home away from home. It was truly relaxing and the environment was so calm and people were so nice there.”
Clark said her senior is going to a good program.
“Coach [Mike] McGhee is a great coach,” Clark said. “He and his daughter work together. They run a great program. [Jolley]’s going to join Carly Yazza there and she will continue to grow and strive, and to become a better player at that next level. I’m excited.”