HV Warrior standout Ella Marvel signs with the Alice Lloyd College Eagles

Published 11:13 pm Friday, February 17, 2023

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BY C.Y. Peters
Star Correspondent
You don’t see many 5’2” (5’3” with cleats) fastpitch softball pitchers at the college level, but every so often, you will get a player with grit and determination that will buck that stereotype. Ella Marvel, in front of friends, families and coaches, signed her National Letter of Intent and made her choice to continue her softball career post high school at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky. Coach Matt Estep, Athletic Director of Happy Valley HS, kicked off the ceremony by thanking everyone for coming out and acknowledging Ella’s contributions to the softball program; he then introduced former Milligan University and Daytona State standout Cloee-Anna Merritt who talked about Ella’s growth on the mound and what a student-athlete is to look like. She also challenged all the girls in attendance to be determined to leave a program in better shape than you found it.
Ella, surrounded by her family and current coaches, put ink to paper and made it official. Ella Marvel, who was named All-County last year, has been the starting pitcher for the Warriors for the past two years and has posted strong numbers from the mound, including a sub 4.0 ERA and over 90 strikeouts. When asked about why she chose Alice Lloyd, Ella shared, “their atmosphere was a good fit for me; it felt like home; they put Christ first and desire to build servant leaders in the Appalachian region.” Alice Lloyd Softball Head Coach Nathan Hall echoed Ella’s sentiments when asked how Ella was a fit for their program, “What made Ella such a great fit for our school and program was not only her great athletic ability in the circle but her love for Jesus matching so well with our school’s mission and what we believe and stand for”. In the circle, Ella is strong, determined and hardnosed. She will be a great fit for our program next year and we are excited to have her on campus in the fall. Alice Lloyd College which boasts one of the lowest acceptance rates in the country at 16%, will be getting a dandy in the dugout who is a high-character, hardworking pitcher, who sports a 3.9 GPA to boot.
Carter County softball pitching legend “Jarfly” Dugger, who was in attendance, has been a big encourager for Ella from her earliest days, “if I had a team of 15 girls, I would want them to all be Ellas, she has more determination and will to win, but my girls are like that.” For Ella, this day almost didn’t happen; she recalled a turning point in middle school that made the difference for her “I didn’t make the sixth-grade team and I just thought I’m done; I took off like a month and did nothing and quickly learned how much I loved this game and told my dad I can’t do this.” Whether it was school or travel ball, it would be the last time she wouldn’t make a team she would try out for. Ella, who is known for her off-speed and movement pitches, would go on to share what the opportunity means to her “I feel so blessed to get to continue to play this game; I took two weeks and prayed about this and just knew it was where God wanted me.” Co-Head Coaches Hunter Buchanan and Austin Hicks gladly shared what sets Ella Marvel apart, “she is a pure leader; she epitomizes what a student-athlete is to be, and she is teaching our young team what hard work can do for you, first one on the field and works her hind-end off the entire time,” Buchanan stated. Hicks also added, “she is one of the most determined, hardworking kids I’ve met, when we bring the girls together they look at her for leadership.” Hard work and determination are a repeating theme when Ella Marvel’s name comes up; her lack of size never stood a chance!

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