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Vernon inks with William Penn University
Ripon senior first baseman Taylor Vernon is all smiles after signing her National Letter of Intent to play softball for NAIA school William Penn University in 2014-15 Wednesday at Ripon High.

Ripon senior Taylor Vernon won’t be done playing softball after high school.

The Indians’ three-year varsity starter signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her career at William Penn University Wednesday morning.

“It feels amazing just knowing that all the hard work paid off,” said Vernon, who has been an All-Trans Valley League selection in each of her first three high school seasons.

Vernon, who batted .456 her junior season with 31 hits and 27 RBIs, started getting recruited by the NAIA school after being seen at a Reno tournament playing with the Rampage Gold last October.

Vernon was offered a near-full ride athletic scholarship to the liberal arts school located in Oskaloosa, Iowa, which is located about 70 miles from her grandparents’ residence in West Des Moines.

“They saw her playing in Reno and invited her for a visit,” said Taylor’s father and head coach Robert Vernon. “We went in November to visit the campus, and that’s when they offered her the athletic scholarship and she (verbally committed) shortly after.”

Vernon was solid at first base her junior season and had a .956 fielding percentage. She feels most comfortable at first despite playing second base her freshman year and some third base as well.

“They haven’t really talked to me about it, but I’m hoping I’ll play first base, and hopefully I’ll play a lot,” she said. “The campus was so pretty and peaceful and everybody was so friendly. The softball team was so nice and welcoming and the coaching staff was too. So I put all of that together.

“And just knowing (my grandparents) will be there in the same state helped me decide to go there, too.”

Vernon says she wants to go to school to become a physical or occupational therapist.

But all of the collegiate academics will come after her campaign as an Indian comes to a halt after next spring.

Vernon is scheduled to graduate next summer. She’ll still get to enjoy one more year of high school ball before turning that page.