Wirt’s Bogan signs with West Liberty

Wirt County High School catcher Skylar Bogan, pictured here during a game last year at Williamstown, signed her national letter of intent on Wednesday afternoon in Elizabeth to continue her softball career at West Liberty University. Photo by Jay W. Bennett.

ELIZABETH — Taking advantage of the early signing period here Wednesday afternoon, two-time first-team Class A all-state catcher Skylar Bogan of Wirt County inked her national letter of intent to continue her softball career for the Hilltoppers of West Liberty University head coach Herb Minch.

“It took a lot of pressure off,” Bogan admitted of getting things over with now. “It’s like home. It’s like here. You’ve got to drive up that hill and it’s exactly like (West Virginia) route 14.

“Everybody says there is nothing to do there and it’s out on a hill, but I just really like it and it’s a really pretty campus. The people were nice and they were inviting.”

Bogan, who was the captain of the single-A all-state second team as a freshman, plans to major in exercise physiology and become an athletic trainer.

“I really think now that she’s got it lined out and it’s not up in the air anymore, she’s probably going to have her best season yet this coming spring,” said Wirt County head softball coach Aaron Hill. “That’s just pressure she doesn’t have to put on herself.”

While skilled with the bat, Bogan’s forte since her first game starting behind the dish for the orange and black has been her defense.

“I’ve said it before. Defensively, I think she’s the best catcher in the state, regardless of class, bar none” added coach Hill. “I don’t think there’s a player in the state that’s better behind the plate than she is.

“Offensively, she’s a solid player. I think she’s capable of being an extremely good offensive player and I really think she’ll do that this spring. She’s a great player. She’s a great student, a great kid and she’s going to be a nice edition for West Liberty, for their team and for the university community overall.”

Although the Tiger backstop isn’t too familiar with the players on the current Hilltopper roster, she does know ex-Parkersburg South Patriot Megan Bosley and former Williamstown Yellowjacket Courtney Dotson.

“I played with her (Dotson) in travel ball and she signed last year. I’ve been talking to her and she is so excited and I’m excited too,” Bogan added. “I’m really excited about being a collegiate athlete. This is what I wanted to do since I was a kid.

“I was like 6 years old playing on my first softball team and my grandma was like ‘if you want to play softball in college you need to work every single day’ and I was like OK, challenge accepted.”

During her first three years with the Tigers, she has registered an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of more than 1.000 each spring. She’s totaled seven career home runs, 29 doubles, 69 runs-batted-in and 23 stolen bases while drawing 24 walks and going down on strikes just 18 times.

“I’m hoping for a really good spring so we don’t get rained out 20 times,” Bogan said with a laugh. “It feels really good (having a new home). It’s like I accomplished my dreams. It’s like you can set a goal and you can achieve it no matter how small of a school you come from or wherever you come from or what you are doing and that feels really good.

“All my friends are happy for me and all my coaches and my teachers and everybody and it just feels really good. It’s like a mutual happiness.”

Of course, Bogan is also hoping to stay healthy this spring after she battled through illness during the latter part of 2016.

“I’m feeling good about that,” Bogan replied when asked how she thinks the transition will go to being a student-athlete in the Mountain East Conference.

“I need to do better just offensively. I need to be consistent and I need to be a leader this year because I’m a senior. I just really want to get a lot stronger and prevent injuries and I am not going to get pneumonia this year.”