The realization hit Chloe Watts like, well, the illumination of a 100-watt bulb.

“Around my sophomore year, I really started buckling down and realized that I wanted to play at the next level,” the Boyd County softball player said, “and it was gonna take a lot more hard work than I was putting forth.”

Consider it done.

Watts became the No. 2 option on the Lady Lions’ pitching staff last season and also contributed in the outfield. She did so well enough to sign with Georgetown College on Dec. 12.

Watts struggled, in her terms, against the 16th Region’s strong complement of talent as a younger player. It didn’t simply discourage her.

“A lot of times, I failed,” she said, “and that made me realize that I had to work harder to get to where I wanted to be.”

She did, and her coach noticed.

“Chloe has worked hard over the past three years to put herself in this situation,” Boyd County coach Dave Wheeler said, “and I couldn’t be more proud and happy for her.”

As a junior last spring, Watts posted a 3.46 earned-run average, pitching in 18 games and starting nine in the circle. She fanned 33 opposing batters over 60 2-3 innings of work.

Offensively, Watts batted .265 and drove in 11 runs.

Watts expects to fill a similar utility role with the Tigers, she said.

“When I first got on campus, I just instantly felt like I was at home,” Watts said of Georgetown. “Everybody was so nice, so welcoming, and every time that I went back, they knew who I was and remembered my name, my face and the conversations we had.”

Boyd County overachieved, Wheeler said, last season, finishing 25-12 and qualifying for the 16th Region Tournament semifinals.

The Lady Lions hope to take another step forward this year.

“I think our region’s wide open,” Watts said, “but I think we’re gonna be really good this year, especially with a lot of the talent that we have coming up from the younger ones. And they’re only gonna get better.”

Watts plans to major in pre-medicine with the intent to go into psychiatry, she said.

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