BIDWELL, Ohio — Never heard of Miami University-Hamilton?
Allow the Lady Raiders’ Sydney Little to introduce you.
That’s because Little, River Valley’s senior standout softball catcher, officially announced her intention on Wednesday to play for the Harriers of first-year head coach Rick Walker.
Little’s signing ceremony took place in the River Valley High School Media Center, as she was flanked by her parents Wade and Billie Jo Little; River Valley High School softball coach Nick Roberts and River Valley High School Athletic Director Rich Stephens.
Miami University-Hamilton is a regional campus of Miami University, with the main campus located in Oxford.
The Harriers are a member of the Ohio Regional Campus Conference, as Ohio University-Chillicothe is also a member of that league.
Little is a four-year member of the Lady Raiders, and explained how her decision on selecting Miami-Hamilton came about.
She said Walker messaged her on her college athletic recruiting profile, asking her to take a visit and see if she liked the program.
It helped too, perhaps, that Hamilton is located approximately 30 minutes from the Kings Island amusement park —which is in Mason and also home to the state tennis tournament.
“The school definitely stood out to me. Their campus is so pretty and even though it’s small, it’s what I wanted. You get to know people better and have those relationships with your teachers and your coaches and your teammates because you aren’t all spread out,” said Little. “I’ve got to meet some of the teammates and my roommates for next year, and we just all clicked. I’m so excited to get to play for them (Harriers) and further my softball career with Coach (Rick) Walker and some of the girls.”
Little said Walker is “trying to build the program up and trying to do a lot of recruiting this year, wanting to pick up the pace of athletics at the school.”
Walker will actually be the fifth coach for Little in five years, as she has had four mentors at River Valley —with Roberts coaching her for the past year-and-a-half.
“Sydney is an excellent softball player all around. She’s the leader on our team this year. Her attitude has been extremely positive and she’s been a good role model for the younger kids,” said Roberts. “She’s leading the team in hitting, she’s our leading defensive player as a catcher. Miami-Hamilton is getting a very good ballplayer.”
Little said she prefers to continue catching in college, but discussed with Walker during her visit about transitioning to a utility player.
“We definitely talked about catching, as well as playing me where ever I needed to be. We’ll see how the team turns out to be and where on the field I’m needed. That’s where I’ll play and I’ll fit in,” she said.
Little said she plans to major in Criminology, and possibly pick up a double major with Forensic Psychology.
She said once she turns 21, “I’ll probably add on to that the Police Academy”.
She wished to thank all of her family, friends, teammates and coaches at River Valley, and is excited about saying hello to Hamilton while bidding good-bye to Gallipolis.
“I’m really excited for what playing at Miami-Hamilton is going to bring. I love Gallipolis, but I want to get away from Gallipolis and get to meet new people and be around different people. Hamilton is kind of an uptick city, it’s really up-pace. It will be different from knowing everybody in Gallipolis,” said Little.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106