Poston Butte Softball Duo Signs NLI

8 months ago Andrew Luberda 0

Poston Butte softball seniors Taylor Strupp and Ronni Sample will continue their academic and athletic careers at Colorado State – Pueblo and Lindenwood University, respectively.

The pair of future Lady Broncos’ record holders signed their National Letters of Intent during the early signing period in November at a signing event that was hosted at the high school.

Strupp, an All-Sonoran Region pitcher a year ago, fulfilled a goal in choosing CSU – Pueblo, where she’ll major in Biology with an emphasis on Physical Therapy.

“I knew I wanted to be in Colorado for the past four years,” Strupp told CountyLinePreps.com. “I fell in love with (Head) Coach Koschke, I loved everything about the school, and I knew I wanted to be there.”

The four-year, two-way varsity player has 27 career wins and will undoubtedly graduate from Poston Butte as the all-time winningest softball pitcher in school history. Other career pitching numbers include a lifetime 3.27 ERA and 223 strikeouts in 231+ innings pitched. Strupp has 20 complete games in 32 career starts with four shutouts. She tossed a no-hitter as a junior, when she finished 12 – 4.

At the plate, Strupp is a career .252 hitter with 40 RBI, nine 2B, 11 3B, and 3 HR in 92 games played.

Strupp and Sample are among a group of core players from the classes of 2016-19 that are responsible for turning around a program that won just five games in 2014.

Taylor Strupp (left) and Ronni Sample (right) signed their National Letters of Intent on Nov. 8, 2017. Photo: Kelli Luberda.

“It means the world,” Strupp said. “I’m just honored to be a part of a group that changed the perspective (of the program).”

Former Poston Butte head coach and current Westwood head coach Don Baker took over the Lady Broncos’ program in 2015 and helped resurrect it.

“It’s awesome feeling,” said Baker, who started when Strupp and Sample were freshmen. “I can’t be more proud of what they were able to turnaround.”
“They’ve been great, not only for the school, but also the community,” he continued. “They’ve given San Tan Valley something to be happy about and proud of.”

Baker led the Lady Broncos to 49 wins over the last two seasons. Strupp was the winning pitcher in nearly half (24) of those victories.

“(Taylor) has always been coachable,” Baker answered when asked for Strupp’s greatest attribute that will translate at the next level. “She is very proactive and always asks what the coaches are seeing. She goes beyond waiting for someone to tell her how to change her approach or mechanics. She always wants to improve.”

Sample, also an All-Sonoran Region selection as a junior, will be one of at least a half-dozen softball players from Arizona playing at Lindenwood University, including former Poston Butte teammate Megan Clark.

Clark, a class of 2017 graduate and the 2017 Sonoran Region Defensive Player of the Year, assisted in the recruitment of her former Lady Broncos’ teammate.

“(Megan) told me how amazing it was,” Sample told CountyLinePreps.com. “I went out there for a visit and I fell in love immediately. The weather was beautiful and everything about it was so perfect.”

Also a four-year varsity player, Sample will likely leave Poston Butte as the Broncos’ “Hit Queen,” graduating with the most hits ever at the school.

Sample will study Biological Sciences at Lindenwood, which is located in St. Charles, Missouri. She says her experience as a student-athlete at Poston Butte helped prepare her for college and beyond.

“Everything is not always going to go the way you want them too,” Sample said. “If you continue to try your best everything will fall into place somehow.”

Baker touted the defense played by Sample, suggesting her arm is one of the best in the 5A conference. Her offense is equally as impressive as evidenced by her .418 batting average as a junior and .351 career average. In 94 games played, Sample has 92 hits, including 15 2B, two 3B, and 2 HR. She has 73 RBI in three varsity seasons.

“She came out guns-a-blazing as a freshman in a very tough conference,” Baker said. “As a sophomore she regressed a little, but her junior year she put it all together. It showed she had the mental toughness to overcome some adversity.”

Both players were asked what they are most looking forward to in the next chapter of their lives. Their answers were similar.

“I’m excited to start something new,” answered Strupp.

Added Sample: “I’m excited for a new start and I get to focus on different things. I’m actually getting to start my new life and not just preparing for it.”