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The standout Spartan pitcher finalizes her intent to play softball for the Beavers

COURTESY PHOTO - Payton Goodrich signs her letter of intent to Oregon State with family, her coach and Hilhi faculty members Nov. 14 outside the gymnasium on the Hilhi campus.Hilhi senior Payton Goodrich made it official Tuesday, Nov. 14, when she signed her letter of intent to play softball at Oregon State University.

The standout pitcher and first baseman committed to the Beavers nearly two years ago, but inked her letter in front of family, friends and faculty in a small ceremony outside the gymnasium on the Hillsboro High School campus — not a day too soon as far as the 6-foot standout pitcher is concerned.

"Everything is for sure now and it's not just a dream," said Goodrich. "It was a lot of hard work and all the practice definitely paid off, but now this is the beginning and I have to work even harder."

Goodrich is a two-time Northwest Conference first-team honoree and was the 2016 NWOC Player of the Year. In addition to her prowess on the diamond, she's equally impressive in the classroom, carrying a 3.67 GPA.

"Payton is the first Division I athlete we've had since Sadie Lopez — who played softball and started all four years at Portland State — in 2009," said Hilhi athletic director Steve Drake. "She's a tremendous person and we're extremely proud of her."

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Hilhi's Payton Goodrich delivers a pitch during a NWOC softball game against Milwaukie.Goodrich's success comes despite a hearing impairment that by her own account has made things a bit more difficult. While making no excuses, the senior said it does complicate things on the diamond in regards to understanding where plays are in the game.

"I just always have to make sure I'm on the same page as my teammates on the field," she said.

She chose Oregon State over a handful of others, but knew from the first time she stepped on campus that OSU was for her. She's anxious to get to Corvallis and equally excited to get to play at the high level Pac-12 softball will present. But while looking forward to the challenges, she's also happy about being close enough to home that if she wants to see family and friends, she'll have that opportunity just a short drive away.

"One of the great things about it is it's pretty close to home," said Goodrich. "So if I miss my family, I can come home and see them."

She said that Hilhi has taught and motivated her to work hard both on the field and in the classroom, and her softball experience with the Spartans imparted the importance of having fun with the game as well as enjoying the time spent with teammates. She plans to take those virtues with her to OSU and apply them in a way she can be proud of when her time in Corvallis is done.

"One of my main goals is simply to try my best," Goodrich said. "Especially with all the obstacles college has in store for me, I just want to give it my all in the classroom and work to earn a spot on the team and on the field."

Goodrich plans to major in Early Childhood Education in pursuit of her dream of being an elementary school teacher. She thanked everyone who made everything possible, but most importantly her mother Christi, who supported her throughout her childhood and high school journey.

"I'd love to thank my mom for always being there for me and always believing in me, even when I didn't believe in myself," said Goodrich. "From the first day I played this sport she always knew I was a pitcher and always was my biggest fan. I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for her."

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