Lamar State College will be the home of two area athletes, both of whom signed their letters of intent to play college softball at the Junior College.

Brianna Ramirez from Riviera and Leeann Hinojosa from Bishop, have signed on the dotted line and committed to play softball at LSC in Port Arthur.

Ramirez signed her letter last week inside the Riviera-Kaufer High School gym, and said being able to play ball at the college level is a dream she’s had since she was old enough to carry a bat.

“I was actually three years old when I started playing,” Ramirez said. “I was watching my sister play and I thought maybe I should play, so my parents signed me up for T-ball and after that I just fell in love with the game. I still play and I’m doing everything I can to get better.”

Ramirez has been traveling the state playing softball for years with a lot of teams outside of Riviera, and said playing “year round softball” can take a toll on a player, but is worth doing. 

“It’s a little challenging because sometimes (the games) go from really challenging to not so competitive and there’s a big difference in play,” Ramirez said. “It doesn’t mess your game up, but it tests your focus. And when you add that with sleepless nights and long road trips, it gets tiring, but I loved playing.”

Ramirez said she hopes to encourage others to work hard to get where she is, and that as long as a person “pushes themselves to want to play” they will also be a college athlete.

Ramirez will be studying kinesiology while attending LSC and hopes to one day become a physical therapist.

Hinojosa signed her letter inside the Bishop High School gym on Friday afternoon, and did so alongside her family members.

Hinojosa said she had a choice between three different schools, but felt that Lamar State was the perfect fit for her.

“This school just really fit me and it really is what is best for me,” Hinojosa said. “And the other ones were kind of far. Everything about this school was perfect.”

Hinojosa said she enjoyed the way the coaching staff treated her on her visit and the tour around the college reminded her of her own small school, so it “felt just like home.”

Hinojosa said she’s been playing the game since she was four years old, and said in the beginning it wasn’t her favorite.

“I was unsure about it I guess because I was young,” Hinojosa said. “And then as I got older, I just fell in love with it. It got hard with the practices and stuff, and all the sacrifices I had to make (traveling), but I really began to enjoy it and love it.”

Hinojosa said she hopes anyone in Bishop who has a dream of one day being a college athlete is able to do so through the support of the town and their own work.

“If it’s what you want to do, you make sure it’s your first priority,” Hinojosa said. “Make sure you don’t have anything else in the way to get in front of that and just make it your dream come true.”

Hinojosa will also be attending the college to study kinesiology.

Both girls said they also hope to play for bigger universities in the future in either Division I or Division II, after they have completed their time at LSC.

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