SAN TAN VALLEY — A shortened spring sports season and the lack of summer ball has left some graduating high school seniors antsy when it comes to choosing a post-high school path.

Poston Butte softball catcher Nattie Murillo felt a bit of pressure but said she has made the right choice in signing with Buena Vista University, a Division III school in Storm Lake, Iowa, to continue her education and softball career.

“I first had talked to the Buena Vista coach earlier in January, and I had planned on also playing club this summer to try to find other schools to go play for but due to the coronavirus, a lot of stuff got canceled or pushed back,” Murillo said. “I just came to the decision of signing instead of waiting until it was too late. But I also loved Buena Vista; it’s beautiful.”

While Iowa seems like a strange state to go and play softball — Murillo said playing in the cold will take some adjusting — the biggest selling point on committing to Buena Vista was the coaches showing interest in her.

“They wanted to help me get into college, and they did as much as they could to get me there with me paying out of my pocket as least as I could,” Murillo said. “I’m really looking forward to meeting the team. The coaches I’ve met are wonderful people, and they make me feel very welcome.”

She added she’s looking forward to being on her own and enjoying the college experience.

“I’m really looking forward to growing and becoming and adult,” she said. “I want to experience college to the fullest, and I really want to have the ultimate college experience and be able to tell my kids, you should and definitely need to go to college to have the most fun experience of your life.”

Murillo plans to study psychology. After taking a class her junior year, she found out she really enjoyed the subject.

During her time on the diamond at Poston Butte, Murillo said her biggest takeaway was learning to become a leader.

“My first two years of softball at Poston was a challenging experience and they were very different,” she said. “I had new experiences, and I gained lessons from all of them. The catcher is basically the leader and the captain of the field, they see everything, and they have to call out plays and tell everybody where to go, I like getting everybody in line. I like being that person, I like being the glue of the team.”

Murillo’s final season with the Broncos was cut short, and as many other seniors have mentioned, she will never take softball for granted.

“I missed a lot of the bonds that I had, and I’m never going to get those bonds that I had with my high school team anymore, which really sucks,” she said. “I’m just going to learn to love everything in the moment and never take anything for granted and to always have fun. Honestly, there’s so much passion in this sport and there’s so much passion that I have for this sport, there’s nothing that can replace softball in my world, and I stand by that 100%.”

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Maria Vasquez is a reporter covering Eloy, Arizona City and sports. She can be reached at mvasquez@pinalcentral.com.

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