FORT WALTON BEACH — Surrounded by family, friends, teammates and coaches, two more Fort Walton Beach Vikings signed Wednesday to play ball at the next level.
A couple of weeks ago, a pair of football players inked to play college football. This week, however, it was the girls turn.
Kayla Melton and Maddie Phillips, who serve as co-captains of the Vikings softball team, signed to play college softball next year.
Melton will be going to Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, while Phillips will advance to Coastal Alabama Community College in Brewton, Alabama.
Viking Coach Jim Ryan spoke highly of both girls.
“They are the heart and soul of Fort Walton Beach softball for the last four years,” Ryan said.
The two girls, who are former Destin Marlins, have been four-year starters for the Vikings and served as co-captains.
“They have done everything we have asked them to do and more. And they have put themselves in a position to continue playing ... and get a large chunk money for that education,” Ryan said.
“I’m just proud of them. It’s awesome to see this happen,” he added.
“I foresee them having outstanding careers.”
Melton, who finished with a .463 batting average last year, will be playing for the Agnes Scott College Scotties, a NCAA Division III team.
“The last six months I wasn’t sure if I was going to play,” Melton said.
Then Agnes Scott, an all-female college, caught her eye because of its high academics. Plus she said they work around schedules for softball players and athletes.
“So that drew me there ... that way I could still be able to play at a high level, but still keep up my academics,” Melton said.
Melton, who plays second base for the Vikings, hopes to play in the infield for the Scotties.
“I’m pretty flexible as to where they want me to go,” she said.
As for academics, she plans to go into chemistry or biochemistry.
Phillips, who holds down third base for Vikings, will be playing for NJCAA Coastal Alabama which participates in the Alabama Community College Conference.
For Phillips is was almost like love at first sight.
“Once I went up and toured the school, I just really loved it because of the girls and the softball team. They really made me feel welcome,” Phillips said.
She toured the campus and liked the fact that it’s kind of small.
In addition to playing third base for the Coastal Alabama Warhawks, Phillips plans on studying nursing.
“I’m just really excited for the future and what it holds for me,” she said.