2017-10-19 / Sports

Matlock fulfills her goal

Athlete commits to Bucknell softball
By MATT JOHNSON
Sports/Education Editor


Violet Matlock is shown in last year’s section title game in Stockton. She has committed to play college softball at Bucknell University, a Division I school in Pennsylvania. 
Photo by Matt Johnson Violet Matlock is shown in last year’s section title game in Stockton. She has committed to play college softball at Bucknell University, a Division I school in Pennsylvania. Photo by Matt Johnson When Violet Matlock was a freshman in high school, she logged online and completed a Google search that would change the course of her life.

She searched for the best universities in the United States. When she came across ones that caught her eye, she would send them an email to learn more about them.

Two schools caught her eye: Bucknell University and Williams College.

Fast forward a few years, and the Mariposa County High School senior has accomplished many things to put herself in position to attend one of those schools.

She’s strong in the classroom, and just as strong on the softball diamond. She’s earned all kinds of softball accolades and awards, and she’s one of the most feared pitchers in the Southern League.


Violet Matlock (second from left) is shown with the Bucknell softball team’s head coach, Joey Lye. Also shown is the pitching coach (far left) and hitting/recruitment coach (far right). 
Submitted photo Violet Matlock (second from left) is shown with the Bucknell softball team’s head coach, Joey Lye. Also shown is the pitching coach (far left) and hitting/recruitment coach (far right). Submitted photo After all of her hard work, Matlock now finds herself ready to play softball at Bucknell, which is a Division I university.

Matlock committed to Bucknell last weekend during a campus visit. She plans to officially sign on with the program at the start of November.

Playing Division I softball has been her goal since even earlier than her freshman year. She has been planning to reach that level since she was in seventh grade.

“It hasn’t been a dream, but rather, it’s been my goal since I was in seventh grade,” said Matlock. “We started working toward that. I can’t say enough about my parents. They’ve driven me everywhere. My mom sat out and caught for me until it was dark. ... You sacrifice most of your normal high school life to get that dream to come true. The fact it did for me is unbelievable.”

Matlock said the plan is for her to join the team as a pitcher, which is her favorite position to play.

But that doesn’t mean she won’t be available elsewhere in the field.

“They like that I was an all-around athlete and can use me, if they need to, hitting or fielding,” Matlock said.

There were several reasons Matlock chose Bucknell.

“They’re so good with what I want to go into with liberal arts and the political science area,” Matlock said.

Another reason was the “beautiful campus.”

“When you walk on it, it’s smaller, which I really liked,” Matlock said. “I wanted a campus that gave me the opportunity to be involved in more things and get to know the professors and people I’m working with. The average class size is about 20 students, which I really liked.”

Matlock also said it possesses “amazing people” and “top notch facilities.”

She also praised it’s training rooms and weight trainers.

“There are fitness people working with you around the clock,” Matlock said. “There is tons of academic support as well.”

Matlock will bring a West Coast flavor to the team. Nearly every player currently on the roster is from the East Coast.

“What really caught my eye is it’s insanely beautiful and has a rich East Coast culture,” Matlock said. “I wanted to change up from living in California my whole life.”

Matlock said she enjoyed the “big brick buildings” and “old architecture” of the East Coast.

Bucknell, which is located in Lewisburg, Pa., a town with a population of 5,699, is an “adorable” town, Matlock said.

“It’s a really small town,” Matlock said. “It’s a little bit bigger than Mariposa and has more of a college town atmosphere with more coffee shops and things like that. I think it’s perfect.”

Bucknell is a member of the Patriot League for Division I sports. For more information, visit www.bucknellbison.com.

Coach Williams applauds Matlock

Matlock’s high school coach, Tony Williams, was also very excited about the accomplishment.

“It’s awesome,” Williams told the Gazette. “She’s worked hard for it. I believe that was her dream since she’s been pretty young. To fulfill your dream, that’s amazing. She deserves it.”

Williams praised Matlock for “her work ethic, her tenacity to always try to get her swing perfect, her pitching, her fielding. She’s always trying to make it perfect, the best she can make it.”

“That goes for both the sisters,” Williams said, referring to Violet’s younger sister, Sam Matlock, also an MCHS softball player. “It runs in the family, I think, because Sam is the same way.”

One of the other things Williams has noticed about Violet is “She’s always smiling, which is good.”

“That means she loves the game,” Williams said. “If any athlete can love the sport, that makes it easy for them.”

So far throughout high school, Matlock has posted a batting average of .504, with 101 RBI in three seasons. On the pitching mound, Matlock has a 1.41 earned run average (ERA) and has 25 wins.

Matlock said over the next few months and into the spring softball season, she plans to work on her strength through weight training.

“I want to increase all my lifts and basically work on my physical aspect, getting stronger,” Matlock said.

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