Payson High School softball star Tamara Crabdree has accepted a full-ride athletic scholarship to attend Georgetown College in Kentucky, a Baptist liberal arts school.
The senior signed a letter of intent last week after visiting the school at the invitation of Tiger coach Thomas Thornton.
The invite was extended to the PHS senior in December after Crabdree expressed an interest in attending the college.
During a three-day visit to the school last week, Crabdree practiced with the Tiger team, attended some classes, lived on campus and spent plenty of time getting to know both the coaches and players.
"Everyone was so nice there and treated me really well," she said.
She returned to her Payson home, impressed with Georgetown's facilities, commitment to academics and the softball program.
"Georgetown seems a perfect fit," said Scott Crabdree, Tamara's father.
Tamara agreed, "I've been wanting to go there since I was 5 years old."
The Rim Country teen is not sure how she showed up on Georgetown's recruiting radar, but believes it might have been family roots and old-fashioned good luck.
"I have an uncle who works in athletics there and also they might have seen me in some college showcases I went to," she said.
In addition to the Lady Longhorn standout receiving a four-year athletic scholarship, she was included into the Equine Scholars Program.
The scholarships are doled out each school year by the Kentucky Horse Park, which gives out 10 of the $1,000 grants to individuals with equine interests, involving all professions and breeds.
Georgetown College, founded in 1787, is located in Georgetown, Ky. The school has a student body of 1,400 students and competes in the Mid-South Conference of the NAIA.
Last season, the Tigers finished with a 24-20 and were fourth in the conference's final standings. Because the Tigers lost six letter winners to graduation and have six newcomers, Crabdree is expected to have a shot at plenty of playing time.
"I think will probably play first base only," she said.
Lady Longhorn coach Will Dunman, who first coached Crabdree as a freshman, is elated one of his players has landed an elusive scholarship offer.
"I am excited for her," he said. "It is a great opportunity to continue to play and get her education paid for."
As a Lady Horn, Crabdree showed great promise her freshman year, before an injury slowed her during her sophomore season.
Since then, she's been on a tear.
"She has really improved her skills in every facet of the game," Dunman said. "She is so much better than she was coming in."
Part of the credit for her rapid improvement goes to her dedication to work in the off-season. As a member of the Valley-based Lil' Saints 18-years-and-under club team, she has been traveling the country the past two years competing against top notch opponents.
"I know that has really helped her," Dunman said.
This season, Crabdree holds down the starting first base position but also sees spot duty at second base.
She's also an accomplished hitter who is a candidate for postseason honors.
In addition to her exploits on the diamond, Crabdree was a standout goalkeeper and stopper for the Lady Longhorn soccer team and a center/forward on the basketball squad.
Crabdree is the first Payson High School student or athlete to earn a scholarship to Georgetown.
Crabdree will major in psychology.