RACINE, Ohio — One game into her senior season, Paige VanMeter’s softball future is set.
On Tuesday at Southern High School, VanMeter signed her National Letter of Intent to join the Ohio University-Chillicothe softball team next season.
“My coaches have helped me by pushing me, and my teammates have helped me too,” VanMeter said. “I started wanting to play at the next level when I started playing travel ball. With school-ball, I started working harder and getting better, and it made me want to play more.”
Entering her senior season, VanMeter has helped the Lady Tornadoes to a 40-25 record with a pair of sectional championships.
As a freshman, VanMeter hit .428 in 63 at-bats and finished with 30 runs batted in and three home runs. She drove in 32 runs as a sophomore and hit .527 in 74 at-bats.
In her junior season, VanMeter batted .606 in 71 at-bats, with 56 RBIs and 11 home runs. She tallied 14 doubles as a junior, the most of her career.
“I have a passion for hitting, I love it,” said VanMeter. “I’ve always been a strong hitter, that’s just what I’ve been. I get my confidence from hitting.”
Paige has been featured on the All-Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division team in each of her first three seasons. VanMeter has also been named to the all-district team three times, as an honorable mention in 2015, a second team selection in 2016 and a first teamer in 2017.
VanMeter was an All-Ohio honorable mention as a junior and made it into the state record books for a three-home run, nine-RBI game.
“She started with us as a freshman at third base, did an excellent job for us,” Lady Tornadoes head coach Alan Crisp said. “Last year we got in a situation where I lost my catchers and she’s caught before, so we moved her back behind the plate and she did a good job. She’s going to be back there again this year for us. Last year she had an unbelievable year at the plate.
“We’re counting on big things from her this year. I think she’ll be able to adjust to the college game. She’s played some travel ball, so she’s seen some top-quality pitching. OU-C has a nice program and I think she’ll be able to step in and be a quality player for them.”
After her senior season, VanMeter will be joining a Hilltoppers squad that competes in the Ohio Regional Campus Conference and is led by head coach George Beck.
“Paige will compete for a starting position at the corners, most likely third base,” Coach Beck said. “We really like her bat. She’s got a real good stick, can put her bat on the ball and can really move runners, that’s important. If you don’t score runs, you don’t win many games, I figured that out through the years. I think she’ll do well.”
At OU-C, VanMeter plans on majoring in Social Work, with the intent of becoming a medical social worker.
“I like the size of OU-C, I’m from a small school and I like how small it is,” VanMeter said. “I like the community there and it’s not too expensive. My goal is to play either third or first. I like the pressure of first base, you have to make the team look good, that’s the goal of the first baseman. I’ve always loved third base, my dad started me there and since then I’ve loved playing there.”
At Southern, VanMeter holds a 3.3 grade-point-average and has also competed on the varsity volleyball and basketball teams.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.