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Rio Grande offers Auxier what she wants in softball

PROCTORVILLE — No wonder Megan Auxier signed to play softball for University of Rio Grande coach David Pyles. They think alike.

Auxier, the senior pitcher last season for the Fairland Lady Dragons, signed a letter-of-intent to play for the Redwomen and sixth-year coach Pyles, and both like similar things when it comes to playing softball.

“I’d like to do both,” Auxier said of signing as a pitcher but with the hopes of playing in the field and batting. “I’d like to DH (designated hitter). I like to hit. That’s one of my strong points.”

When Pyles was told Auxier was hoping to be a DH, too, he just smiled.

“That’s a possibility. We like the fact she can swing the bat. We won’t rule out pinch-hitting and designated hitter,” said Pyles.

But pitching is the main reason Pyles wanted to bring Auxier to Rio Grande. With one senior graduating, Pyles said Auxier will compete for one of the three spots in the rotation.

“Megan right now is looking to be the No. 3 pitcher. We’re hoping she’ll step up and be No. 1 through No. 3 for us,” said Pyles. “Once she makes the adjustment to this level, with work, effort, and dedication she’ll do a good job for us.”

Auxier considered Shawnee State and the University of Charleston (W.Va.), but opted for Rio Grande for several reasons.

“It’s close and a small community. Everyone is real nice and home-like and I get along with the girls there,” said Pyles.

“It’ll be more fast-paced. The pitching will be better and more competitive and the hitting more powerful. I hope to have as much fun as high school.”

Fairland coach Leroy Baise said Auxier brings some valuable intangibles along with her physical talents.

“She has a great attitude. She’s a coach’s player. She’s there day in and day out. She made a good decision to go to Rio Grande. I think she’ll get some playing time,” said Baise.

Fairland finished the season 17-10 and Division III district runners-up, mainly due to the pitching of Auxier.

Baise said Auxier was vital to the team’s success and will be difficult to replace next season.

“We’ve had good players in the past, but Megan is one in a million. She’ll be hard to replace. She won a lot of games for us,” said Baise.

Not only did Auxier pitch almost every game, she proved to be a major threat at the plate as a hitter.

“She was one of the most feared batters in the OVC. She could play any infield position and bat, but we needed her to pitch,” said Baise.

Megan is the daughter of Joe and Rilda Auxier.