GIRARD — Hard work and dedication payed off for Girard’s Shaylun Grosstephan, who signed a letter of intent to play softball at Kansas City Community College on Monday inside Girard High School.

With the goal of playing college softball in mind, Grosstephan dedicated herself to training and became one of the most dominant pitchers in 4A-DII softball.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to play collegiate softball,” Grosstephan said. “So finally having that opportunity is amazing. There are no words to describe it.”

Signing her name on the dotted line fulfilled a lifelong dream for Grosstephan.

“It’s such a relief to finally know where I’m going and to get it out of the way,” Grosstephan said. “It also helps to have the support of my family and my friends. I’m really excited.”

Grosstephan signed with the Blue Devils on the heels of winning a state championship with the Trojans and will look to repeat this year before moving on.

“I don’t know if there’s a way to top last season,” Grosstephan said. “If we can win state again, that would be amazing. I’m sure my teammates feel the same way.”

With all but one player returning for the Trojans this year, they are primed to make another run at the state title with Grosstephan leading the way.

“I’ve coached Shaylun and have watched her play since she was young,” GHS head softball coach Jim Vinze said. “When she came in as a freshman, we had high expectations for her and she’s met every one of them. I’ve coached a lot of athletes, but I’ve never coached a kid who works as hard has she does. She’s very committed to making herself better, and in doing that, makes everyone around her better because they see her example. She’s a great kid.”

Win or lose, Grosstephan said she can’t imagine playing high school softball anywhere other than Girard.

“The support system here at Girard is just amazing,” she said. “We probably have the best supporters in the area, so having them beside me is great. I feel like they’re always pushing me to get better.”

The support of teammates, coaches and fans is what Grosstephan said she was looking for in a college.

“We went to visit the school in July to see the campus and visit with the coaches,” she said. “They were just so amazing and everybody there was really nice. It helped that they were really welcoming.”

According to Vinze, Shaylun already has the talent and work ethic to be successful at the next level.

“I think she’ll make a big impact on the program,” Vinze said. “With her work ethic, I don’t think she’ll have a problem fitting right in with the team and doing what needs to be done.”

Grosstephan said she wants to jump in immediately and help out any way she can, but hopes to leave a legacy when it’s all over.

“I want to go in and help them with pitching and anywhere else they would need me,” she said. “Ultimately, I just want to help build the program to be better.”

 — Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsbrug Morning Sun. E-mail him at jbuckamneer@morningsun.net and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.