VARNELL -- If you know anything about Coahulla Creek High School's Sophia Voyles, there's probably one thing that first comes to mind.

"Everyone knows me as a Georgia Tech commit," she said. "At first I was like, that's kind of silly that it's the only thing people know me as."

Now the junior, who has been committed since the spring of her freshman year, beams when she talks about the Yellow Jackets.

"I mean, it is one of my biggest accomplishments. That Georgia Tech symbol has gotten me far, and I'm glad it has," she said. "It's my favorite thing now. I'm like, you know what, just keep calling me that."

After a rocky start to the season as a team, Voyles led the Lady Colts this fall to an appearance in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs. With her steady presence in the circle guiding her teammates along, people will now have to add another association to her name.

Finishing the year with 13 wins, 185 strikeouts in 127 innings pitched and a 2.74 ERA, Voyles has been named the 2019 Daily Citizen-News Softball Player of the Year.

"When coach called me with the news, I just sat there for a minute," Voyles said. "I was like, oh my gosh. It's crazy."

The award isn't such a crazy thought for Coahulla Creek coach Josh Swiney.

"Even with her playing elite-level travel ball and her commitment to Tech, the success of her high school team is equally important to her," he said. "That means a lot to our staff as well as to her teammates. She is very deserving of this award, and we are extremely excited for her.

"Sophia is a team-first player that will do anything, play any position and hit anywhere in the lineup for the betterment of the team. It's always a great day when those type of players get recognized."

Like Swiney said, though Voyles has already caught the attention of her future college coaches, there has still been plenty of softball to be played on the high school-level.

Voyles earned a win over Franklin County on Oct. 9 in the first game of the Lady Colts' first-round best-of-three playoff series. Her team won, 4-3, to push the series to three games, but not before she struck out seven of the batters who play for the now state runners-up team. Even higher competition lies in Coahulla Creek's regular-season matchups with Region 6-3A foe and now state champion Ringgold.

The teams split their two matchups during the regular-season, and Voyles struck out eight batters in each game.

Voyles pitched in all but one of the Lady Colts' 25 games this season, taking her only break in the second game of a doubleheader against Southeast Whitfield after she earned a win in the first. In her 24 appearances, she pitched at least six innings in 11 games, recorded 10 or more strikeouts in seven games and allowed three or less hits in nine games.

Voyles didn't do half bad at the plate, either, finishing the season with a .288 batting average, with nine doubles and 17 RBIs.

The hardest part of stepping up wasn't the fact that she had to do it, she said. It was the person she had to follow.

At the beginning of the season, Voyles followed directly after teammate RJ Janke, who finished this season as the area's leader in home runs with seven.

"She's a beast -- with capital letters," Voyles said. "I love her so much, but as I was standing there on deck watching her hit go over (the fence) I'm just thinking about how I am possibly going to follow that up. In travel ball, I don't even hit so it feels pretty good to get one.

"I still love the feeling of getting a strikeout more, though."

Voyles probably has good reason. She is the all-time leader in strikeouts at Coahulla Creek with 393 and set a single-season school record this year with her 185, while she is also on track to break the career record for wins at the school.

With that, she still has another high school season to let people know what she can do.

"I'll be a senior which is just exciting anyway," she said. "But, I think everyone knows me now. I'm not really sure if they are scared of me, but they definitely know me."

Swiney can't wait to see what happens next year, too.

"She gives us a chance to win each time out," he said.

React to this story:


Recommended for you