Published 12:02 am Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pleasant Home senior pitcher Emily Byrd signed a softball scholarship with Faulkner University Monday morning. | File photo

Once an Eagle, always an Eagle.

Pleasant Home senior Emily Byrd made it official Monday morning, signing a softball scholarship with Faulkner University in her school’s library with family, friends, coaches and school administrators by her side.

Byrd said she’s thrilled about getting to play the sport she loves at Faulkner.

Emily has a family tie to the Lady Eagles’ softball program at FU already because her sister, Erin, will play in her final season at Faulkner this coming spring.

“She had a really good experience there,” Emily said when asked if Erin played a role in her decision. “It seems like it would be a good fit for me, too.”

The senior pitcher, who also plays at shortstop, had attracted FU head softball coach Hal Wynn for a long time.

“We’ve seen Emily as long as we’ve watched Erin,” Wynn said. “(Erin) came to play for us, and we’ve watched Emily all through the summer and high school. We’ve known her for a while.”

Additionally, Wynn said it was Emily’s attitude toward the game that made recruiting her easier.

“She likes to play hard, but yet she’s also a good student as well,” he said.

Emily helped lead PHS to several state tournament berths since she started pitching for her school in seventh grade.

Last season, the ace led PHS to the state championship game against then top-ranked Ragland at Lagoon Park. For the season, Byrd had an earned run average (ERA) of 1.89, and averaged 6.26 strikeouts per game. She struck out 195 total for the season, and had seven shutout wins for the Lady Eagles.

Her peformance on the mound last season earned her a spot on the Class 1A All-State Softball first team as a pitcher.

Emily, who also plays volleyball at PHS, said when she visited Faulkner the week of the area tournament, that she really liked the school’s campus.

“It’s really nice,” she said.

While some of her friends will suit up to play girls varsity basketball for PHS this year, Byrd will be busy getting ready for her senior softball season. In fact, a few weeks ago, she said she starting throwing with her dad, Tommy.

Emily said she was “excited” to get the big decision out of the way.

“I’m just ready to have my last season of high school softball,” she said. “This will make it less stressful.”

Emily is the daughter of Tommy and Jennifer Byrd of Andalusia.