Garden City, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Lyle Befort spends his summers roaming the dugouts as the manager of the Garden City Elite Legion team. During the fall and winter, he hibernates to his teaching job in Sublette. On Thursday morning, the baseball man finally got a chance to sit back and be a proud papa.
All Befort and his wife could do inside the Garden City High School media room was smile as their daughter Dusti signed a national letter of intent to play college softball at Highland.
“It’s a really good program,” the younger Befort said. “There have been 31 Division I players that have moved on from there.”
From that sense it was a no brainer. But there might have been a little hesitation. After Befort verbally committed to the Scotties, Indiana University sent an email proclaiming their interest in the senior pitcher.
“They wanted us to come up there and everything,” Lyle Befort said with his eyes wide open. “But we like the small-town feel of Highland.”
His daughter agreed.
“It reminds me a lot of home,” she said.
Home is where Befort has been excelling on the diamond for four years. During her sophomore campaign, she posted a 10-2 record in the circle-registering 118 strikeouts to only 25 walks. Her ERA was a sensational 1.71. A year later, her numbers dipped slightly-posting an 8-4 record with 94 strikeouts and a higher ERA (2.65).
She was arguably the Buffaloes best offensive player as well. During her second season, Befort clubbed a team-best five home runs and posted a .530 batting average. Her 34 runs driven in were second only to Mekayla Guerrero’s 39. Then last year, she pounded three homers, knocked in 28 RBIs and registered a team-high .410 batting average-helping lead the Buffaloes back to the 6A state tournament.
The Younger Befort says she plans on studying nursing.
The other Buffalo to sign on Thursday was catcher Shea Nordby, who was decked out in Southwestern College colors.
“They’re a really good NAIA school,” Nordby explained. “I really liked what their program is doing. I really liked the feel of the campus.”
The feeling was mutual. While Befort was arguably Garden City’s best player, Nordby was their rock. She recorded a team-best 90 putouts last season while playing error-free softball-posting a 1.000 fielding percentage. Nordby also held her own at the dish-hitting .404 with one homer and 17 RBIs.
The senior also drew interest from Kansas City Junior College, Dodge City and Kansas Wesleyan. But ultimately, Southwestern won the day.
Both girls agreed that getting this out of the way early allows them to focus on their season season.
“I know I’m set Nordby said.”
“There’s no pressure now,” Befort added. “It feels very good to have that off of my shoulders.”