EARLY— Early Lady Horn standout catcher/third basemen Sydnee Shea became an East Texas Baptist University Lady Tiger Tuesday afternoon.

Shea inked her letter of intent with the Division III program out of Marshall, trading in her purple and gold for blue and gold.

“I feel really good and excited to move on and keep it going,” Shea said. “I love the school. It’s amazing and the coaches are awesome, but I really liked it because I feel it’s where God put me. He called me there. They waited on me for a little bit, then I said that’s the school.”

As with any DIII program, Shea will not receive a scholarship. While attending Early High School, Shea showed potential quickly. She is a two-time District 6-3A offensive player of the year her sophomore and junior year. She hopes to continue playing either third base or catcher in college.

“I’m looking to play third base, but I will be happy wherever they put me,” Shea said. “They have a national championship, which is great for a DIII school and I just felt that is where I needed to be at … It’s going to be hard (leaving), but it’s going to be OK. I’m excited and ready.”

Although looking forward to dawning her Lady Tiger blue and gold in 2020, Shea first has her sights set on wrapping up her high school career with the Lady Horns. Early finished last season with a first-round playoff loss to Merkel, but with a core group of seniors coming back for the upcoming season she feels they can go much further this season.

“From what I’ve seen so far, I think we have a lot of talent on defense and with hitting,” Shea said. “Defensively, we’re going to be strong this year. There are always different points you can work on … A big weight feels like it’s been lifted off. When I verbally committed to East Texas Baptist, it was a big weight off my shoulders. Now it’s just playing for fun and I don’t have to worry about anything else.”

Once she wraps up her career at Early, Shea said she plans to work on her defense and hitting in the offseason to get her ready for college play. For Lady Horn head coach Alfonso Chavez, seeing his player officially sign on with a college program was a proud moment. Regardless of what improvements she makes in the offseason, Chavez feels Shea will be a great addition to the Lady Tigers.

“She’ll do great. She’s a great addition to the team,” Chavez said. “She will be one of their better players. I’m excited to see her and how far she will go at the college level. She has the talent and her bat is something else too. Last year, I think she had 40 RBIs and in sophomore year she had 55. She is going to produce well for them.”

As for the Early Lady Horn program, the team recently began practicing, but even this early into the practice schedule Chavez said he is already excited for the season.

“We have good returning seniors — a good returning lineup. I think we will have one of our strongest defensive teams we’ve had in a while here,” Chavez said.