Osky Slycord signing

Herald photo by Jim Gries/Oskaloosa senior pitcher Kayla Slycord, second from right, signs a national letter of intent to play softball at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs next season. Witnessing the signing were, from left, Oskaloosa softball coach Jay Harms, her mother, Kendra, and her father, Mike.

OSKALOOSA — Oskaloosa pitcher Kayla Slycord expects to fit in quite nicely at her new collegiate home next season.

The senior signed a national letter of intent Thursday to pitch for the Iowa Western Community College Reivers in Council Bluffs and coach Lana Ross. The Reivers had a sparkling 51-19 record and Slycord hopes to be a contributing factor in more wins in 2008.

“I really like the campus and when I went and stayed with the girls and talked to them, they were really nice,” she said. “They seem to get along good.

“They also have my major, which is fashion marketing. I’m really excited about going to college and playing softball.”

She chose to attend Iowa Western after looking at Kirkwood, Ellsworth and Muscatine, among others.

Slycord had a 12-14 record with a 1.86 ERA for the Indians, who went 18-19 last year. She earned second-team All-Little Hawkeye Conference honors each of the last two seasons.

Entering her senior season at Oskaloosa, Slycord has compiled a 24-32 record with nine saves. She’s fanned an even 300 batters.

She expects junior college softball to be more competitive than high school, but her high school coach, Jay Harms, said playing in the LHC has prepared her better than if Slycord had played in a smaller conference.

“We’ve seen the competition that Kayla’s thrown against, it’s changed from when I first came here to coach at Oskaloosa,” Harms said. “The competition we’re playing now is a lot, lot tougher. The conference is a lot tougher, so in the weekend tournaments that we play, Kayla’s thrown against some of the top teams in the state.”

Slycord thinks she needs to improve mostly the speed on her pitches to compete on the higher level.

“She also has to work on her off-speed pitches,” her father, Mike Slycord, said. “She’s got the good change-up and her fastball’s there. She wants to get the drop and rise balls perfected to get the batter off-balanced. That’s the name of the game.”

“She’s got a lot of improving to do and she’s excited about having that chance to work with her and take her to that next step to be a dominant pitcher on the collegiate level,” Harms said. “It’ll be interesting how she does, how hard she’s going to work because there’s going to be a lot more work than what she’s had to do at this level (high school). Anytime you go up another level, there’s going to be. She’s the type of person that will work at it.

“They think she can gain a lot of speed yet. She’ll have people tweak her on some certain things. They think with the build that she has, they think they can really make her a dominant pitcher.”

Mike Slycord said when they went to Council Bluffs for their visit, the Iowa Western coaches had not seen Kayla pitch. After seeing her pitch a few times, the coaches decided to give a scholarship to the Oskaloosa hurler almost on the spot.

Once she completes he eligibility at Iowa western, Kayla said she would like to transfer to Iowa State where it offers her course of study and get her degree.

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