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Lady Panther signs with Young Harris
Lady Panther third baseman Dominique Sibley signs Thursday morning to play softball at Young Harris College as her sister Melissa, mother Susan, father Rodney and Lady Panther coach Jerome Standard look on. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon

Lady Panther third baseman Dominique Sibley has signed to play softball at Young Harris College. She penned her name to a partial scholarship alongside friends and family in Liberty County High School’s media center Thursday morning, formally becoming a Mountain Lion.

The All-Region 3-AAA first team player said she decided to sign with Young Harris after visiting their campus in the north Georgia Mountains just 30 minutes from the Tennessee/North Carolina borders.

"There was something about it that I really liked," she said with a smile. "The people were very nice and the coach was very open and willing to do anything to help me."

"She has the drive to work hard," Lady Panther softball coach Jerome Standard said. "She has earned what she has gotten. She didn’t come in as a blue chip player, but she is leaving as one because of her hard work not only on the field but in the weight room and classroom. She carries herself very well as a scholar athlete. She’s earned this."

Sibley said she will study mathematics.

"I’m happy and sad in a lot of ways. I’m happy that she is going on to better herself educationally and continue to play softball, but I’m sad because she’s the last one in the nest," Sibley’s father Rodney said of his youngest daughter.

"It’s very hard right now," Sibley’s mother Susan Sibley said about her daughter’s impending departure. Susan Sibley said her daughter deserves her scholarship after working hard athletically and academically. "She is a great kid."

Older sibling Melissa joked it would be great to have some separation from her little sister, but was genuinely happy for Dominique Sibley’s good fortune.

"When I was younger I did play softball, but I didn’t get the opportunity (to play at the next level)," she said. "So I’m glad she did. This is a good thing. It’s a learning experience and I think she’ll do great."

Melissa Sibley said she would do her best to attend a few games and Susan Sibley said she is already planning her calendar.

"It is quite a ways," the athlete’s mother said. "It’s about six hours away. So it’s not like I can just get in the car, drive up and drive back all in one day. I’ve already looked at the schedule and I’m already calculating which games we can attend and it will be quite a few."

"When my wife rolls, I’m going to roll with her," Rodney Sibley added.

Standard said Sibley needs to prepare for the challenges that come with playing at the college level.

"But I’ll think she’ll be fine because she is a go-getter," the coach said. "They’re going to make her do a lot of running and a lot of lifting, which she is already accustomed to. She needs to continue to play travel ball, which she is. So she’ll stay sharp and she’ll be ready."

Sibley said she would like to play third base and is determined to throw herself entirely into the sport.

"My heart has to be in it and it is," she said. "I would love to play third base, but anywhere I’m needed I’ll go."

"It makes me feel proud," Rodney Sibley said. "It lets me know that at the end of the rainbow, the end of the tunnel, all the hard work and commitment we did in pushing them is finally paying off."

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