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Walker makes Griz history as first in-state signee

By Brad Peers, KECI Sports, bpeers@keci.com
Published On: May 02 2014 06:34:35 PM MDT
Updated On: May 02 2014 08:03:52 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Current Deer Lodge softball player Dani Walker recently committed to play softball at the University of Montana.  Walker will see many firsts throughout her collegiate career and she's already started that list by becoming the first instate recruit to sign with the Griz.

"That was my dream," said Walker.  "As soon as I heard that there was even a possibility I was like this is what I want to do, because who wouldn't want to be a Griz?"

"Any time we can pick a player up in state that can play at a division one level then obviously it's a good thing for us to do," said Griz head softball coach Jamie Pinkerton.

Walker has ties to UM, her dad played basketball for the Griz, so there's no question maroon and silver run through her blood.

"When you have a player that's an in-state, they carry a certain pride about the state school and we're not going to have to teach that to Dani," said Pinkerton.  "Actually, Dani will be instrumental in explaining that to the players coming in.  She's going to be the poster girl, she understands Griz tradition."

"Since I was little I was like my dad played for the Griz, this is so cool, I think I want to go there some day," said Walker.  "I fell in love with softball and I was like man I think I want to play softball somewhere and then the Griz just came and I was like man it couldn't get any better, I love it."

While Griz softball coach Jamie Pinkerton was out recruiting players he noticed several quality traits in Walker's game, but the thing that stood out the most was her versatility.

"The athleticism, I was real impressed with," said Pinkerton.  "We're getting an athlete back there and she's going to be able to play other positions so it was a very good pick-up for us."

And as for Walker, once she graduates this spring she's ready to get to work and prove she belongs at the next level.

"I'm ready for the next level," said Walker.  "I have been dreaming about it for a while so I'm going to work on my game this summer and just continue to get better."

The Griz have signed 11 prep seniors to National Letters of Intent and expect to have a roster of 18-20 players by the end of the summer.