Tiauna Walker NLI

Highland High School senior Tiauna Walker signs her National Letter of Intent on Friday at Highland High to play for the Yakima Valley College softball team.

POCATELLO – During a slow-pitch softball game with her mother last year, a seemingly uncatchable line drive rocketed toward Tiauna Walker in right-center field. Walker was going to have to speed up her steps, and then she could possibly reach it.

Somehow she did, displaying her ability that has attracted college teams.

“She turned and took off running backwards. We’re like there’s no way. We thought she was burned,” said her father Jason Walker, who was watching from the bleachers that day. “She just caught the ball out of the air. … Everyone was clapping and I yelled, ‘That’s my daughter.’”

Since Tiauna was 14 years old, the Highland High School senior has not only applied her passion for softball toward the Rams and a high school summer league, but also on various teams with her family who proudly watched her sign her National Letter of Intent on Friday at Highland to play for the Yakima Valley College softball team.

Tiauna started playing the sport when she was 4 years old and laces up whenever she can, including for a co-ed softball team called the Rezsox with her mother and father, who have played the sport throughout her life.

“I love playing softball. I wasn’t ready to quit yet and it’s just a part of me,” said Tiauna, who listed what she likes about the sport: “The adrenaline rush, the tie-breaking games, making good plays.”

The senior utility player is coming off a season in which she tallied 23 hits, 20 RBIs and 19 runs with a .287 batting average in her first year as a full-time varsity starter.

“She loves the game. She’s very motivated to keep playing,” Highland coach Tisha Coverdell said. “I think she’s going to be a good hitter. She’s been working really hard this offseason on her hitting.”

Yakima Valley, a two-year college that competes in the Northwest Athletic Conference, informed Tiauna that she will play third base. Tiauna accepted a 40 percent scholarship from the Washington community college over an offer from Colorado Northwestern Community College.

In 2018, the Yaks finished 11-34 and 8-24 in the NWAC East Region. Yakima Valley had three Idahoans on the 2018 roster, but none from southeastern part of the state. They are led by head coach Chuck Bodeen, who has coached 26 players who went on to a four-year college program and 31 players who made the NWAC All-East team in 13 seasons.

“I just loved the coach,” Tiauna said. “He’s super nice. He knows how to play the game. He’s just an amazing guy.”