By Rob Kiser
BRADFORD — It was a big night in the Bradford High School auditorium Monday night as three Lady Railroaders made their college decisions for next season.
Bradford athletic director John McGiffin introduced Mandi Bates (Ohio Northern University, basketball), Tatyana Cotrell (Capital University, softball) and Olivia Hart (Sinclair Community College, softball).
Bates has been a standout for four years for the Lady Railroader basketball program.
She was a big part of Bradford’s sectional championship team several years ago as a young player and has just progressed from there.
The daughter of Curtis and Michelle Enis scored her 1,000th point during her senior season and looks forward to playing at the next level.
“I really liked their business school,” Bates said about Ohio Northern. “And I really liked coach (Michelle) Durand when I got to meet her and the fact they have been very successful.”
Bates is an athletic wing/post who piled up double-doubles for Bradford.
“Mandi (Bates) is just such a hard worker and has such a great attitude,” Bradford girls coach Patrick McKee said. “You really couldn’t ask anymore from a player than her. She puts so much into it. When we visited we met with both coach (Michelle) Durand and assistant coach (Mark) Huelsman. We wanted to check everything out and took in a game. It is a great fit for Mandi.”
That drive will continue at the next level.
“They have both a varsity and junior varsity,” Bates said. “But, the way I look at it, that is just going to motivate me to work hard and be on the varsity.”
The daughter of Shawn and Angie Cotrell is a standout pitcher for the Lady Railroaders and made her college choice for the most important reason.
“They have a great nursing program,” Cotrell said. “They have two hospitals there where I can do clinics. I really want to work at Children’s Hospital once I have graduated.”
At the same time, Cotrell wasn’t ready to give up on softball.
“I knew if I went Division I, it would be tough to get playing time,” she said. “I really like it there (Capital). Ever since I played on a travel team in 10U, I have wanted to play softball in college.”
Bradford softball coach Shon Schaffer said they are getting a good one.
“I think Capital is a great fit for Tatyana (Cotrell),” he said. “You have to love softball and she loves the game. They have the nursing program she wants and she will be very successful there.”
The daughter of Eric and Kathy Hart brought the same enthusiasm and bright smile to the signing that she has brought to the Bradford softball team for the last the four years.
The standout centerfielder makes things happen in every game — whether it is her strong hitting or hustle and determination — both on the bases and on defense.”
“Olivia (Hart) has been my starter in centerfield for four years,” Schaffer said. “I think Sinclair is a great fit for her. She loves the game and they are getting a really good player.”
Hart said the decision was an easy one.
“I just love the game,” she said. “I really liked it there (at Sinclair) and they have a really strong team. I am excited.”
Like all three sets of parents and Bradford administration could be on a special night.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.