Rethlake makes Kentucky signing official

Huntington North High School senior Erin Rethlake (front center) signed a letter of intent on Friday, Nov. 15, to continue her softball career at the University of Kentucky.
Huntington North High School senior Erin Rethlake (front center) signed a letter of intent on Friday, Nov. 15, to continue her softball career at the University of Kentucky. Photo by Steve Clark.

Erin Rethlake was a sophomore at Huntington North High School when she verbally committed to play softball at the University of Kentucky.

Now a senior, she's made that commitment more permanent.

Rethlake signed a letter of intent at Huntington North on Friday, Nov. 15, officially making her a Kentucky Wildcat come next fall.

"It's kind of been a long time coming," says Rethlake, "so I'm really excited it's finally done."

She cites Kentucky's coaches and the school's atmosphere as major factors in her decision.

"From just being on campus there, it felt like it was home for me," she says.

The 2012-13 Gatorade Indiana Softball Player of the Year, Rethlake looks forward to joining a rising Kentucky team that set a school record for wins last season.

"All those girls, they all want it more than anything and they all work really hard, so it's going to be a lot of fun to play with girls that want it just as much as I do," she says.

A talented pitcher and hitter for the Lady Vikings, Rethlake elevates the entire team, says Huntington North Head Softball Coach Paris Seibold.

"She leads and the girls look up to her, and without her on the mound it would be a lot tougher road for us," he says. "She puts us at a different level."

With Rethlake, Huntington North's softball team finished as the state runner-up in 2012 and was just a game away from a return trip to state last season.

"I'm sure we wouldn't be there each year without her," Seibold says. "She's just a spark plug for our team."

Rethlake's father, Troy, says he introduced her to the game at the age of six.

"It seems like a long ride, but all of a sudden it seems like a very short time ago that she was this big," he says. "Couldn't be prouder at this point."

Competing on top-tier travel teams against the best talent in the nation has helped prepare his daughter for the rigors of playing Division I softball, says Troy Rethlake.

"Looking forward to seeing what she can do when she gets down there," he says. "I think the kid has a chance to maybe play as a freshman down there."

Rethlake says she's sacrificed a lot to concentrate on softball, such as time with friends, but adds, "It's finally paying off."

Complete caption: Huntington North High School senior Erin Rethlake (front center) signed a letter of intent on Friday, Nov. 15, to continue her softball career at the University of Kentucky. Present at the signing were Rethlake's parents (seated from left), Troy and Melinda Rethlake and (back row from left) HNHS Assistant Softball Coach Herb Bergman and HNHS Head Softball Coach Paris Seibold.