Boyle softball teammates bound for Murray State
By MIKE MARSEE
They are friends and teammates who are headed to the same school to continue their softball careers, but Summer Ray and Courtney Sandy didn’t plan it that way.
The Boyle County standouts came to independent conclusions that Murray State was the right place for them, reaching their decisions nearly a year apart.
Those decisions were celebrated Thursday at a ceremony on the new Boyle softball field, where Ray, who committed first, said Sandy’s decision came as a surprise to her.
“We did not talk about it at all,” Ray said. “One day she FaceTimed me and (said), ‘Summer, I’m going to Murray!’ and I started crying. I was so happy because I think it’s going to be awesome to be able to share that experience with someone you already have a connection with.”
Ray, an infielder, and Sandy, an outfielder, are the top two hitters on a Boyle team that will try to win its sixth consecutive 12th Region championship this week.
Ray is batting .488 with nine home runs and 37 RBIs — she leads the Lady Rebels in all three categories — while Sandy is hitting .468 with four home runs, 15 RBIs and a team-high 13 stolen bases in 15 attempts.
Sandy was offered by Murray in October, but she took another month or so to make up her mind, committing on her birthday in November.
“I felt something there, and I was like, ‘This feels really great and I want to make sure that this feeling stays.’ And it stuck with me that whole extra month,’” she said.
Ray committed in November 2021 and signed with Murray last fall.
“I had visited many other colleges and nothing felt like Murray. And I know people say that and it’s kind of cheesy, but honestly nothing felt like Murray,” she said.
Ray said she liked that the makeup and personality of the coaching staff was similar to Boyle’s staff, and Sandy said she was impressed that the players were invested in the program.
“You just want to go somewhere where everybody wants to give their best effort to make the program great,” Sandy said. “That’s been established at Boyle County, and I want to keep that going.”
The two girls will not be roommates at Murray, but each said it’s comforting to know the other won’t be far away.
“I know that if she ever has something that she struggles with she’s going to have someone there, and I’m going to have that, too,” Sandy said.
Regan Brownley, an infielder who recently committed to Centre, also was recognized at the signing celebration.
Brownley is the daughter of longtime Centre swimming and diving coach Dean Brownley, and she said that familial connection delayed her decision to commit.
“I kept putting it off because I knew my dad was there, but the more and more I went back for softball, I just fell more and more in love with it,” she said.