ASHLAND – Along with being in the pitching circle, Mykayla Akers has her future off-the-field plans squared away, too.

The Ashland senior signed a letter of intent with Kentucky Christian University on Thursday afternoon in Ashland’s cafeteria. She’ll play softball for former Kittens coaches Dave Miller and Steve Vanover as a Lady Knight. She plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in education in Grayson before pursuing a master’s in special education. Her mother, Vanessa, is a special-education instructor.

Scott Ingram fought off emotion as he addressed the crowd gathered in front of a pen-wielding Akers. Ashland’s softball coach thought back to his daughter Zoë’s first day of kindergarten. Zoë Ingram and Akers are two of five Ashland softball seniors.

“The first day she came home from kindergarten, it was, ‘Hey, did you make any friends today?’ And I forget how she described her, but it was Mykayla,” Scott Ingram said. “So they’ve been friends for 12, 13 years. We’ve been around her for so long.”

Akers led the Kittens in four categories as a junior — batting average (.400-plus), home runs (seven), RBIs (35) and pitching wins (nine).

“I think she’s going to make an immediate impact for them, not only from the circle, but a big impact from the plate as well,” Ingram said. “She’s always had pop in her bat, but she’s just getting stronger, more consistent at the plate.”

Miller also noted Akers’ strength as an appealing asset.

“She is so strong,” said KCU’s coach, who has worked with Akers through Championship Fastpitch. “I think the sky’s the limit with us and her.”

Akers is the second Kitten to ink with KCU this fall. Fellow senior pitcher Haylie Haney will join her.

“As the season plays on (this spring), I think

these two kids will be some of the top players in the (16th) Region,” Miller said.

Akers said she’s grown close to Miller thanks to four years of pitching lessons. She and Vanover attend the same church — Rose Hill Baptist. She looks forward to hitting the campus ground running for numerous reasons.

“I’m super excited about the athletic part of it, just getting to play softball because that’s always been my dream,” Akers said. “It’s awesome that I get to go to a Christian school because I want to surround myself with other Christians. I get to take Bible classes and just learn more and dive into my faith and help out with that.”

Ingram said Akers is constantly improving. He expects to see even more production this spring.

“I’m not the perfect player, but I really try to make it a point to get out and practice,” Akers said. “I’m not OK with where I’m at, so I want to keep working.”

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